India challenge without tune-up | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 13, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:07 AM, October 13, 2017

India challenge without tune-up

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Following the cancellation of yesterday's practice due to dry turf, Bangladesh were forced to prepare inside the concrete rooms of the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel before facing the might India in their second match of the Hero Asia Cup at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium today.

On the back of a disappointing 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Pakistan, the men in red and green desperately needed a training session to rectify their mistakes before taking on the world's number six side today. However, Mahbub Harun's charges spent nearly two hours in the scoring heat at the Big Bowl yesterday before leaving without any practice as the groundstaff could not water the turf due to a four-hour power outage at the stadium.

The players only had a 15-minute stretching session after turning up nearly 40 minutes after their training session was scheduled to begin as they looked to work on rectifying their mistakes. The situation was exacerbated as manager Rafiqul Islam Kamal -- who is supposed to deal with any problems -- did not turn up and could not be reached via phone either.

With no officials of the Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) at the ground, peon Babul Mia tried to communicate with different officials in a bid to fix the problem before ground committee chairman Hazi Manwar Hossain turned up 15 minutes before the end of Bangladesh's scheduled training and told reporters that they were looking into the matter.

Coach Harun believed that the lack of training would not affect the boys much but believed it would have been beneficial for the players to see the mistakes they had made in the first match in practical training.

"It is not possible to improve with one day of training. We came here to rectify our mistakes but we could not practise due to lack of water on the turf," said Harun, who left the field with a dejected face.

The former national player was also a bit worried about another thrashing in the second match if the players failed to implement his instructions.

"If the boys can't follow instructions and can't hold the ball, then another disastrous result is expected," said Harun. "However, our aim is to play positively. If we can play systematically -- with crisp passing, building from the back, back-tracking and also defend well -- then we can expect a positive result against India."

Harun also expressed disappointment with the performance of the senior players, who made most of the mistakes and awarded goals to Pakistan. The seniors will need to put up their best performance to avoid repeating Bangladesh's 9-1 loss to India in the last edition of the Asia Cup in 2013.

On the other hand India's Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne was not concerned about the home team. Instead he was focusing on his own players and hoping to get a positive result against Bangladesh.

"To be honest, we are not watching Bangladesh. We really want to focus on ourselves and that is important for us. If we do our own things really very good, then we will get the result and we are focusing on that," said Marijne after conducting training on water-soaked turf.

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