Within the hazard zone of the drag-flick: Tirkey, Rasquinha recall fractures, shut calls, Pakistan’s Sohail Abbas’s velocity

Dilip Tirkey is scarred for all times. Actually.

Eighteen years in the past, in October 2004 at Delhi’s Nationwide Stadium, Tirkey was manning the proper goalpost when Pakistan legend Sohail Abbas unleashed his trademark ferocious drag-flick. On the left put up was Viren Rasquinha. And so they each watched in dread as goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza, in his inimitable fashion, charged out to dam Abbas’ shot.

For Rasquinha and Tirkey, D’Souza’s runs made the sighting the ball that a lot more durable. “If he wouldn’t be capable to cease the ball, it might come by his legs or beneath his arms. And Sohail had a sling motion, so that you couldn’t choose the place the ball was going,” Rasquinha says.

“In that match towards Pakistan, we had deliberate that Dilip would take the proper put up down and I’d take the left. Sohail flicked, Adrian rushed out, the ball it deflected barely off him and deviated from its path.”

Tirkey, not a person of many phrases, will get within the movement whereas narrating what occurred subsequent. “I wasn’t in a position to spot the ball. When Adrian rushed out, I simply turned somewhat and earlier than I may even react additional, the ball hit my eye. Ekdum sunn hogaya thode second okay liye and phir, gir gaya (I went numb for just a few seconds after which, fell to the bottom). I couldn’t open my proper eye.”

Tirkey suffered a hairline fracture just below his proper eye. He says he’s trembling even now, whereas recalling the incident that passed off almost 20 years in the past. “The mark continues to be there and it pains even right now, particularly throughout winters,” he says.

The potential hazard of the hockey ball flying at excessive speeds following a drag-flick and the way forward for the penalty nook, an integral a part of the game, is up for dialogue and evaluate after the Worldwide Hockey Federation launched a session venture titled: ‘Way forward for the Penalty Nook’.

The hazard throughout drag-flicks is extra pronounced for defenders, particularly the primary rushers, the participant who runs in the direction of the glint to chop his angle, and the postmen, these guarding the posts, like Rasquinha and Tirkey.

When the 2 of them performed, the defenders didn’t put on a whole lot of protecting gear. Like Gavaskar dealing with the fearsome West Indian pacers with nothing else however solely a floppy hat, the defenders again then depended largely on their reflexes, and somewhat luck.

“I received’t lie, we was very scared. Ball zoo-zoo karke jaata hai,” Tirkey says. Rasquinha, who shared that concern, provides: “We stood with none safety in any respect, besides the stomach guard. Most of us didn’t even put on gum guards so my colossal concern was that the ball would hit me bang on my tooth and I’d lose all of them. If was a real concern.”

Over time, the principles have modified and defenders are given 40 seconds to put on all their protecting gear – face masks, gloves, knee pads, and such. It has diminished the severity of accidents in some circumstances and proponents of drag flicks say the developments in expertise needs to be used to make penalty corners safer, reasonably than altering the principles.

“For me, it’s like F1 racing,” says Gonzalo Peillat, whose drag flicks launched Argentina to the highest of the rostrum within the Rio Olympics. Peillat, who now represents Germany in worldwide hockey and is among the best up to date drag-flickers, isn’t happy with FIH’s transfer, saying that penalty corners are not any much less harmful in comparison with different conditions from open play.

“I don’t assume it’s (the PC evaluate) a good suggestion. In F1, there are much less and fewer accidents due to the expertise. We will have the identical even in hockey. We use a whole lot of gear that protects the whole lot, from the face to the foot. Within the final two Olympics, there wasn’t even one damage by penalty corners,” Peillat says.

That doesn’t essentially imply they’re utterly protected.

On the Tokyo Olympics, India defender Amit Rohidas, thought of to be one of many best first rushers within the nation, suffered bruises on his chest, stomach, knee and ankle in only one match – towards Germany within the bronze medal playoff. What Rohidas does is dubbed in hockey as ‘suicide operating’ – charging instantly in the direction of the glint, to cease the shot even when it means struggling a blow.

The FIH has argued that the protecting gear has given the defenders a false sense of safety, which ends up in them operating straight into the trail of the ball with out pondering of the results. Rasquinha agrees. “The velocity at which the ball travels, no face masks will defend you when you get hit instantly,” he says.

Rasquinha’s thoughts harks again to the early winter encounter towards Pakistan in 2004. After the match in Delhi, the place Tirkey acquired injured, the caravan moved to Chandigarh and from there, to Amritsar the place Abbas scored his world file 268th objective.

Rasquinha remembers the objective not only for the file, but additionally as a result of it almost took his head off. “I used to be guarding the left objective put up. And once more, Adrian charged out. This time, the ball got here from beneath his armpit. I couldn’t see it till the final second after I seen that it was headed straight for the center of my eyes. I simply ducked on the final cut up second and because the ball went over my head, I may really feel the breeze…” he says.

The shot was so quick, the previous India captain provides, that the ball tore by the online and hit the commercial boards. “The referee thought it went over the objective and signalled out. However all of the Pakistani gamers and I knew it went into the objective.” Rasquinha pauses momentarily to replicate. Then provides: “I had no face masks, no gum guard… I may have died that day.”

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