Indian hockey

Chris Ciriello, India’s nemesis in last two CWG finals, now wants to win gold for Marijne’s men

The Australian, who is the analytical coach of the Indian men’s hockey team, had scored against them in the last two summit clashes.

In the last two Commonwealth Games, the Indian men’s hockey team finished second, losing both finals to Australia. Next month, in Gold Coast, Australia, India will be hoping to turn the tables on the top-ranked team in the world, and helping them in their mission is former Australia drag-flick specialist Chris Ciriello.

The Australian, who had scored in both finals against India, including a hat-trick in the 2014 final in Glasgow, was recently roped in by Hockey India to be the analytical coach of the men’s team.

“Chris has scored a hat-trick thrice in the World Cup and in the Commonwealth Games,” said India head coach Sjoerd Marijne. “So, he knows how to deal with pressure. Only by saying that, players will have confidence in them. On the New Zealand tour, we scored more penalty corners with his corrections.”

Indian connect

Ciriello’s mother was born in Kolkata and was an Anglo-Indian. His grandfather, who also played hockey, used to head the customs department in Calcutta. Eventually they moved to Melbourne where his grandfather started coaching kids. “He coached my father and that is how my parents met,” said Ciriello.

The half-Italian, half-Anglo-Indian is eager to strengthen the Indian team in a crucial year, where they will compete in the Commonwealth Games in April, the Asian Games in August and the Hockey World Cup in November.

“My focus is to make the culture better,” said Ciriello. “I don’t care if you are 18 and just played five games or if you are Manpreet who has played over 150 games. The thing is as soon as you are on the field, you have to have that winning mentality. You must have good discipline.”

The 32-year-old retired as a player last year and has been coaching since 18 at his academy back home. “I have coached first division men and women, second division players in Perth,” he said. “I’ve had my coaching academy for over eight years. I was working with the Under-21 Australian team as well before I came here. It will be a good experience to work with a good group and also making them more competitive and wanting to win.”

While this will be his first stint with a senior national squad, Ciriello has started having a positive effect on the team already. “It’s not only about the drag flickers,” said India captain Manpreet Singh. “On the field, he’s always motivating other players. On the ground, he had a winning mentality. He’s achieved everything. So, it’s good for us that we can learn a lot from him. I am learning a lot of things from him. My mentality is getting changed now.”

Penalty-corner conversions

Ciriello knows that India’s defence needs strengthening but penalty-corner conversion, for a while now, has been their Achilles’s heel. At the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India managed to convert only six PCs out of 26. The road ahead for Ciriello is tough but he is up for the task.

“It is a matter of getting better,” he said. “We need to improve pushing, we need to improve tracking and we need to improve accuracy. Every country in the world wants to score 100% penalty corners. Every country wants to save a penalty corner. So we need to work on the details together and work on some variations, which India has lacked. India have got good flickers but you need to have patience of direct flicking and variations.”

Ciriello said that the job doesn’t start and end at flicking and that is something that the Indians have to understand. Variations, he said, alone cannot ensure that a PC will be converted all the time. “There are 100 different types of variations that one can do,” said Ciriello, who played for Punjab Warriors in the Hockey India League.

“But it is not only up to the flickers. It is something that everyone in India must understand. If the pushing is not quick enough and the trapping is not good enough, then you have only 33% of chances of converting. If the pushing is not straight or clean it is very hard, if the trapping is not hard, then it is very hard,” he added.

First test, the CWG

Ciriello joined India during their tour of New Zealand and his effect was immediate as the team smashed 11 goals in the second part of the four-game tour. He wants to make them more competitive and play as a unit.

“What we do is divide the boys in two teams and work on team building exercises,” he said. “We monitor the game and act like strict umpires. We point out things like arguing and poor tackling. I want them to improve because we have to be better than the other issues we face such as umpiring or problems with each other.”

At the CWG, Ciriello is going to go all out and ensure India win gold. “I am here to do my job. I am here to win. In the last two Commonwealth Games, I won my gold medals against India. This time I would like to change that. I like to win. I don’t like losing and I want to win again,” he said.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.