Lucknow:Barely a fortnight away from the Olympic qualifying matches, the Indian women's hockey team is receiving final touches from its technical advisor Ric Charlesworth in Lucknow.
The girls seem all geared up for the challenge. As the team trains in Lucknow, they appear unfazed but understand the task ahead.
Jasjeet Kaur, a member of the team, says "We don't feel any pressure, but Indian hockey has already been represented at the Olympics, not the women's but the men always have made it. So this time the onus is on us to lift the spirits of Indian hockey which are not very high as of now."
A lot is being asked of Charlesworth. He spent three days with the team last week and will return next Friday to stay and travel with the team to Tatarstan for the qualifiers. With his involvement, the players seem upbeat.
Asunta Lakra, another player, says "It would have been nicer had he come a little earlier. We could have a learnt a lot more. But we are trying to learn whatever he is teaching us. And his coming to the camp has helped us. He is teaching us tacts of attack and defence."
The 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medallists are pleased with Charlesworth's involvement. But Nathan Astle, who has worked closely with Charlesworth when he was the high performance manager of the New Zealand cricket team, warns he's a hard man to work with.
"Well, good luck to Indian hockey," Astle said. "I know he's from a hockey background, that's very different from cricket, but then he his own ways and you can't always do that, you have to change your methods accordingly, be a little modern, so all I can say is good luck to Indian hockey."
Given Charlesworth's extraordinary success with the Aussie women's team, his presence in the Indian camp has generated positive responses thus far.
But with barely a fortnight to the qualifiers, even Charlesworth has admitted qualifying for Beijing isn't going to be easy.