Smiles off the field and distractions on the go were the trademarks of winger MK Kaushik.
Three-time Olympian, striker Mervyn Fernandes, his teammate and roommate for India, notes that “Kushik’s right-wing turn was similar to the way the South Koreans do. He turned so quickly that it shook the defenders.”
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The major tournaments the two played together in the front line were the 1979 Esanda International, the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the 1982 Mumbai World Cup.
Kaushik’s smiling demeanor did not diminish his determination later in his career as India coach. “He was a disciplinary coach and after the match he would work on the game plan for the next match. His player management skills need to be appreciated and man management is said to be 60 per cent of the coach’s job,” said Fernandez, who later became associated with India’s men’s preparations for the Asian Games In Bangkok in 1998 as a government candidate.
Fernandez, who later stood alongside Koshik on the podium for the medal ceremony as he called up his men’s Olympic team mates in Moscow 1980, shared a room with his senior in Perth.
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“Kushik was like a hen mother, taking care of everything. It was my first World Cup appearance and when I was 20 I was one of the youngest players.”
The two former Indian teammates worked in their different ways to prepare the Indian men’s team for the Bangkok Masters.
The link between these two attackers was renewed when Fernandez was hospitalized with COVID-19 in Mumbai last month. He recalls, “I got a message from Kaushik when I was in the hospital for treatment, he encourages me and assures me that recovery was just a matter of time,” adding, “So when I knew Kaushik was facing health issues and at Delhi hospital, I sent him the same message, asking him to fight back.” Looking forward to catching up…”