After becoming an expert in the hook shot that ends in a six over the third-man boundary and scoring a few goals in hockey after all the hard work was done by the other 10 players, I confessed to myself that studying the two games from the ropes was a better option. Though I wish I had started that process earlier than 1996, around 15 years of watching, reading and sometimes still practising that 'hook shot' over has allowed me this space on Cricketnext and IBNLive to write and get read.
Had someone told the Indian hockey team at the departure lounge of the Delhi airport that the team will return with a bronze, the players wouldn't have been really disappointed. But from that day to now, a lot has happened that would have left the Indians disappointed with their third-place finish at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which concluded on Saturday.
There's only defeat in waiting when you play the way India did on Friday. It was hustling hockey under the pressure of scoring. No design. No structure. Just a hustle to grab possession, roll the ball and ram into a Malaysian.
The rise of Harmanpreet Singh as one of the best players in the current Indian hockey team is a perfect example of what proper grooming and timely introduction into the top-flight can do to a young player.
In terms of placing on the Medals Table, India's best rank was 19th with one medal, the hockey gold, at 1932 Los Angeles. But only 37 nations participated in that edition, largely due to the 'Great Depression'.
The mixed-doubles pair is being christened as the dream team by many, largely due to the fact that they are in form, happy playing with each other and clinched a Rio berth on the weight of their rankings.