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Five major disappointments of Indian men's hockey team under Graham Reid

Published at :February 5, 2023 at 10:03 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : TOI)


The Australian stepped down after India were knocked out of the World Cup at home.

Indian men’s hockey team head coach Graham Reid recently resigned from his position. The resignation comes after India’s disappointing performance in the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup. India have seen both highs and lows during the Australian’s stint as the head coach. Graham Reid ended his stint as the longest-serving foreign coach of the Indian men’s hockey team. He guided the Indian team to their first podium finish in the Olympics in 41 years.

However, Graham Reid also saw his fair share of lows throughout his regime, especially towards the end of his stint. Here is a look at the top five disappointments of the Indian men's hockey team under Graham Reid:

5. Asian champions Trophy 2021

India went into the 2021 Men’s Asian Champions Trophy as the highest-ranked team in the tournament and also as one of the favourites. However, despite the high expectations all Graham Reid and his men could achieve was a third-place finish. India cruised their way into the semifinals after finishing on top of the table in the group stages. But the Men in Blue were defeated in the semis by a much lower-ranked Japan. Graham Reid’s men had to settle for a bronze medal after defeating Pakistan in the playoffs.

4. Hangover from Olympics success

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics turned out to be a successful one for Indian hockey. The men’s hockey team won the bronze medal which was their first podium finish in 41 years. Despite it being a very big achievement, the celebrations went on longer than it should have. The team started showing complacency which was evident in the results following the Olympics. Although Graham Reid isn’t the only person to be blamed for this, being the coach it is partly his job to keep the players motivated.

3. Consistently far behind better teams

India enjoyed its fair share of success under Graham Reid. However, despite these successes, it has been seen that in terms of quality, India have been far behind the teams that are ranked above them. This difference in quality was put on full display in the final of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

After making it through to the final, Graham Reid's man set up an encounter with Australia, the No. 1 ranked team in the world, for the gold medal. But the Man in Blue were no competition for the Kookaburras. Australia thrashed India 7-0 in the final and India had to settle for a silver medal.

2. Losing the dressing room

Despite his success at the beginning, things started to fall apart towards the end of Reid’s stint as the head coach. It has been reported that going into the World Cup, some players had expressed their dissatisfaction over Reid’s tactics and selection methods. This was conveyed to Hockey India officials by the players in a closed-door meeting, according to reports.

Reid didn’t have total control over his dressing room while heading into the World Cup and that must have affected the performance of the team. It is also said that Reid himself was unhappy with the board as some of his choices regarding the support staff were overruled by Hockey India.

1. World Cup 2023 Exit

India’s 2023 World Cup campaign turned out to be a major disappointment. After having won the bronze medal in the 2020 Olympics and the silver in the 2022 Commonwealth games, Graham Reid’s men went into the World Cup with great expectations. The Men in Blue finished second in their group and had to play in the crossover match to qualify for the quarterfinals.

In the crossover, India were defeated by underdogs New Zealand, thus ending the hosts' World Cup campaign. India went on to finish ninth in the World Cup, a disappointing outcome according to their standards.