Nobbs sees red in ‘blue’

Read more below

By (PTI)
  • Published 22.07.12

London: The newly-introduced blue turf in hockey has been criticised by India coach Michael Nobbs once again on Saturday. He said he doesn’t understand why the London Games organisers decided to hold the competition on such “a slow and bouncy surface”.

Nobbs said the blue turf is no match to the traditional green pitch and all the teams will face difficulties when it comes to adjusting to the surface.

“During the tour (of Spain) we played on blue turf and, let me tell you, some interesting facts have come up. The teams, including ourselves, had difficulty in converting most of the penalty corners. We could convert only three of the 33 penalty corners,” he said.

“The turf is made by the same company with same colour but it played differently at different places. Each turf has different characteristics, depending on the climatic conditions.

“In France we played on green turf which was fast while the blue turf was slow and bouncy. I don’t know why this turf has been introduced. I guess that since blue is one of the Olympic colours, they have introduced it (in London Olympics),” Nobbs added.

Hockey in the London Games will be played on the new blue turf at the Riverbank Arena, which has become a talking point for its unpredictable nature.

Nobbs is not alone to criticise the surface. His Australian counterpart Ric Charlesworth too has been a critic of the turf for its uneven and slower nature. Talking about India’s chances in the upcoming Games, Nobbs said he has full faith in his team.

The Australian, however, warned against any expectation from his team, saying he needs time to bring Indian hockey back to its glory.

“I would not have taken this job, if I had no faith in the boys. It’s a tough road ahead and I’m willing to stick my neck out, but people need to have patience and I need time,” Nobbs said.

“I’m rebuilding the team. The country has the talent and I want to make best use of them.”

Nobbs was also satisfied with the progress of the team in the last one year.

“In last one year since I took over, there has been lot of improvement in the team. I’m not bragging, this is a fact and I don’t want to be modest about it,” he said.