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.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Movies can make you leap beyond what is possible

Movies have the power to inspire us like nothing else.

Why do we love watching movies? The question might be elementary, but one that generates a range of responses. If you had to visualise the world of movies on a spectrum, it would reflect vivid shades of human emotions like inspiration, thrill, fantasy, adventure, love, motivation and empathy - generating a universal appeal bigger than of any other art form.

“I distinctly remember when I first watched Mission Impossible I. The scene where Tom Cruise suspends himself from a ventilator to steal a hard drive is probably the first time I saw special effects, stunts and suspense combined so brilliantly.”  

— Shristi, 30

Beyond the vibe of a movie theatre and the smell of fresh popcorn, there is a deeply personal relationship one creates with films. And with increased access to movies on television channels like &flix, Zee Entertainment’s brand-new English movie channel, we can experience the magic of movies easily, in the comforts of our home.

The channel’s tagline ‘Leap Forth’ is a nod to the exciting and inspiring role that English cinema plays in our lives. Comparable to the pizazz of the movie premieres, the channel launched its logo and tagline through a big reveal on a billboard with Spider-Man in Mumbai, activated by 10,000 tweets from English movies buffs. Their impressive line-up of movies was also shown as part of the launch, enticing fans with new releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Life.

“Edgar Wright is my favourite writer and director. I got interested in film-making because of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. I love his unique style of storytelling, especially in his latest movie Baby Driver.”

— Siddhant, 26

Indeed, movies can inspire us to ‘leap forth’ in our lives. They give us an out-of-this-world experience by showing us fantasy worlds full of magic and wonder, while being relatable through stories of love, kindness and courage. These movies help us escape the sameness of our everyday lives; expanding our imagination and inspiring us in different ways. The movie world is a window to a universe that is full of people’s imaginations and dreams. It’s vast, vivid and populated with space creatures, superheroes, dragons, mutants and artificial intelligence – making us root for the impossible. Speaking of which, the American science fiction blockbuster, Ghost in the Shell will be premiering on the 24th of June at 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, only on &flix.

“I relate a lot to Peter Parker. I identified with his shy, dorky nature as well as his loyalty towards his friends. With great power, comes great responsibility is a killer line, one that I would remember for life. Of all the superheroes, I will always root for Spiderman”

— Apoorv, 21

There are a whole lot of movies between the ones that leave a lasting impression and ones that take us through an exhilarating two-hour-long ride. This wide range of movies is available on &flix. The channel’s extensive movie library includes over 450 great titles bringing one hit movie premiere every week. To get a taste of the exciting movies available on &flix, watch the video below:

Play

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