Chris Ciriello, the analytical coach for the Indian men’s team, put in his resignation this weekend after weeks of speculation over his return to take charge of the team.
According to reports in the Times of India, once the Olympics were postponed by a year, coaches were handed a one year extension. Ciriello was disinclined to extend his stay by a year and travelled back to Australia during the break the team were granted after a long time of being stuck at the camp in Bengaluru due to Covid-19 lockdowns. While the camp reassembled the SAI facility on August 4, Ciriello did not return.
Initially, the reason for the delay was some issue with his visa and then later he cited treatment for skin inflammation as a reason to stay back.
Also Read| Castles in the Air: Formations & Tactics Mean Little in Indian Football Without Planning From Ground Up
The 34 year old, a former player for Australia, is remembered for his 2014 hat-tricks in the World Cup as well as the Commonwealth Games final. He retired in November 2017, after which he joined the Indian team in January 2018.
Although hired as an analytical coach Ciriello has, over the last two and a half years, also worked as an assistant coach and team manager at multiple international assignments.
Ciriello’s resignation is the third high-profile Australian exit over the last one month after Hockey India’s high-performance director David John and men’s team physio David MacDonald. In addition to these three, Indian hocke’s exodus of coaching staff extends to its junior teams too.
There is no head coach for the Junior women’s team after Baljit Singh Saini shifted to the US. According to Hockey India’s official website, the junior men’s team has a grand total of two members in its support staff — coach BJ Kariappa and physio Sanjeet Kumar.
Coach Graham Reid’s support staff is skeletal now, and consists of two assistant coaches Shivendra Singh, Piyush Dubey along with scientific advisor Robin Arkell left in the group.
In light of the situation, Hockey India has undertaken a task to find appropriate replacements for the three positions. Due to the fear of overseas travel along with the dramatic surge of the Covid-10 cases in the country, there is a possibility that the Indian hockey team might appoint Indian experts in the jobs.
Ironically, the women's team, usually relegated to the shadows and rarely spoken about much are best placed right now, with a full contingent of staff, who have been working together for a while, available and on site.
Read more sports stories from Newsclick