Richard Charlesworth says “We owe it to India”. Reproduced below is an interview of 2005 in which Ric reveals his emotional bond with India and hockey.
“I have an emotional attachment with Indian hockey. I am ready to move to India with my family provided the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) is ready to give me a free hand in planning and training Indian team,” says Richard Charlesworth.
Richard Charlesworth, who played 227 games for Australia during a 16-year international career, of which 130 games were as captain of the team, is currently Director of High Performance of New Zealand cricket.
Newzealand’s High Performance Centre is one of the game’s most obvious examples of the commitment to lift achievement levels and consistency in cricket, says Charlesworth.
The three-ground complex at Lincoln University is not only the home of the New Zealand Cricket Academy, but of three top-quality grounds, high-quality practice facilities unequalled in New Zealand and indoor facilities of the highest standard.
Much of the thinking that has marked the innovative cricket New Zealand has played in recent years has emanated from the HPC where intensive research and analysis is carried out to assist in the development of game plans. Specialist coaches for the national sides, at all levels, are based at the centre.
A Medical doctor, first class cricketer, and Member of Parliament, this hockey genius represented Australia in four Olympics and four World Cups. Of all the highlights of his career, none stands out as much as his wonderful effort at the 1986 World Cup in London, where he captained his team, nicknamed Charlie’s Angels, to Australia’s only World Cup victory. Richard was the leading goal-scorer of the tournament and was voted as the Player of the Tournament.
After his playing career, Charlesworth had a very successful stint as the coach of the Australian women’s hockey team. The Hockeyroos under Charlesworth shattered the Holland-Germany duopoly in women’s hockey, which had shared between them the first seven World Cups from 1974 (Mandelieu, France) to 1990 (Sydney, Australia). Charlesworth coached the Hockeyroos to two Olympic golds (1996, 2000), two World Cup titles (1994, 1998), 5 consecutive Champions Trophy titles and the Commonwealth Games title (1998) in a seven-year stint.
“My attachment with Indian hockey is from my childhood. If hockey is played in Australia today, it is all because of India.
“Many Anglo-Indians migrated to Australia after the partition of India in 1947. The Pearce brothers, Eric, Julian, Mel an
d Gordon Pearce, migrated from Lucknow to Perth after independence, and have all represented Australia in the Olympics. Eric played in 1956, ’60 and ’64, Gordon played in 1956 and ’60, Mel played in 1956, and Julian played in 1960 and ’64. Eric’s daughter Colleen continued the tradition, representing Australia in the women’s competition in the 1984 Los Angeles Games,” recalls Charlesworth revealing that an officer from Mumbai police, who migrated to Australia, coached the Australian team that won a medal in the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games.
“It was this coach who always believed that Australia could beat India and in 1976, we beat both India and Pakistan but lost the final,” says Charlesworth.
“I am not after a coaching assignment. It will be sad if India does not return to winning ways in hockey. If Pakistan offers me a job of coaching their team, I will frankly say no. I love India and want that it should be back to make to the last four of all major tournaments. Unfortunately, it has not done so for the last 30 years,” he says.
” do not believe that the coach should stay away in a different country. I admire Greg Chappel who decided to live in India with the team. John Wright used to live in England while coaching Indian team here. So didRonalt Oltmans when he coached Pakistan hockey team.
Rach, the German coach India employed was just a club level coach.He hardly stayed with the Indian hockey team.
Richard Charlesworth maintains that he has no contact with the Indian Hockey Federation after he submitted his proposal some years ago.
“India has the talent. But as far as administration, planning and training are concerned, all are conspicuous by their absence. I do not promise a medal to India but can make sure that India is back in the top four bracket within four year term. You have good talented youngsters as is evident from the performance of your junior team. But their assimilation into the senior team has been a problem. The coach must be given a free hand in selection, training and planning. Only then results can be expected,” adds Charlesworth.