Bangalore:Questioning former India captain M A K Pataudi's suggestion to make cricket India's national game instead of hockey, former hockey captain Jude Felix wondered how that would help matters.
"I don't know how that's going to help", Felix said on Pataudi's suggestion of making cricket India's national game given the current Indian team's performance, taking it away from hockey.
"It's time that we make it (cricket) our national game and take that away from hockey," Pataudi had said.
Pataudi said the current team led by M S Dhoni is the best that the country has produced in a long time with all the players in peak form. "There is no doubt in my mind that this is probably the best team India has produced in a long time especially in home conditions," he said in an NDTV chat show.
Reacting to the suggestion, Felix said here that cricket, no doubt, has overtaken all sport in the country. Hockey, however, was identified as India's national game because it brought laurels to the country. He said hockey is played by countries all over the world (while cricket is played by a few).
According to him, India is among the top six hockey playing nations in the world. "If you come in top six with so many countries playing..I think it's quite creditable".
Felix, however, said India needs an excellent coaching structure to turn things around from the sorry state of affairs the game is in, as there is a lot of talent in the country.
"If there is a good, strong coaching staff, I have no doubt in my mind that India can go to the top again as there is a lot of talent".
Felix made a strong case for having a foreign coach for the Indian team, saying coaching is a specialised job. Veteran Indian hockey players are good in the game but as far as coaching is concerned, they are not professionals, he said.
"We have to put our egos aside (have foreign coach)", he said.
There should be professional approach towards coaching "which is not there in our country now. Coaching structure itself has to change, it should be totally professional", he said.
Felix expressed the view that poor administration at all levels has let the game down in the last few years.
"Administration has to be top-class.From smallest of associations, administration has to be good. We cannot afford to make anything wrong. Once administration is on a strong wicket, automatically everything will fall in place".