Rio Olympics 2016: Multiple captains to lead India on the field in hockey
With thirteen days to go for this year’s Olympic Games to flag off in Rio de Janeiro, Indian Hockey head coach Roelant Oltmans has revealed his plans for the assignment of captaining the men’s team on the pitch once the wheels of the hockey event are set in motion.
Earlier this month, when the 16-member squads were announced by Hockey India, veteran midfielder Sardara Singh who happens to be the most capped player in the side was relieved of his familiar leadership role for the reins to be handed over to star goalkeeper P R Sreejesh. Although the decision had raised a few eyebrows given how it came about on such short notice, Mr. Oltmans has now shed some light on his ideas behind the alteration.
Speaking to The Times of India, the Dutchman explained that the captain’s role will be shared by multiple senior members of the side so as to reduce some workload off Sreejesh’s shoulders, keeping in mind that he is the only custodian who features in the selected sixteen Indian players:
"From now on, we will share captaincy. Sreejesh is the captain but he will never wear the band during matches. Sardar, Raghunath, Sunil and Manpreet will wear it. We worked on the group of captains to make sure on and off the pitch, more responsibility is taken up by more players."
We have already seen during the 2016 FIH Champions Trophy that the coach’s strategy to bestow the captain’s armband on seniors like Manpreet Singh and V R Raghunath during India’s games while Sreejesh led the team in Sardara’s absence paid rich dividends against tough oppositions.
With effective implementation of the rolling substitution policy and smoother distribution of control within the teammates, one can expect Mr. Oltmans to dictate matters to satisfy India’s best interests during the Olympics.
The Indian men’s hockey team will leave for the Spanish destination of Madrid on Sunday to play a final few practice matches before travelling to the Olympic venue of Rio.