Are there any sane voices left? Or are they only aligned to the Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India?
It’s extremely sad that Indian hockey today stands at the cross roads – a victim of official apathy. This is what was feared when the Sports Minister Ajay Maken decided to call both the warring parties on the table and told them to shake hands. Maken probably never realized that hockey may not suffer from talent but it definitely has a paucity of the right people on top.
Sandeep Singh and Sardara Singh left the camp 48 hours back to attend to family issues. As it turned out both don’t want to play for India. They have issues with the national coach Michael Nobbs and also issues with the Camp Director Sukhbir Singh Grewal.
But with 48 hours and counting, not a single hockey player, administrator, sports ministry has issued a statement. Worse, not a single former hockey player has uttered a word or issued a statement that both these players are in the wrong and should return back to the team.
What Maken has done brilliantly is create a wedge with the result that none of the federations now want the other to be successful. The IHF watches the whole drama from outside and probably hopes that the Indian team crashes to defeat in the Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos. And only then would they come out of their holes to roar their outrage to the waiting media – We told you the selection of the players and the selection of the coach was wrong. They would very conveniently forget what happened in Santiago, Chile before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They would very easily delete the chapters on a secretary accepting bribes to induct players into the Indian team.
Hockey India is probably worse off. The day those five players – Sardara Singh, Sandeep Singh, Arjun Halappa, Adrian D’Souza and Prabhjot Singh attended the World Series Hockey function – they should have been given a golden handshake and told “Thank you for your services to Indian hockey.”
The World Series Hockey is one of the better things to happen in the country. But the way it is being done is probably the wrong way for a tournament to start off. The simple fact here again is that hockey is an amateur sport. Olympics and World Championships are the life line for the sport. If you are not in the Olympics, you are nowhere in World Hockey. Why can’t WSH take the entire community and launch the league? Why should it be with the IHF or the HI? It’s a great idea that can stand alone. And once it gets the approval of the International Hockey Federation, it would only thrive. It should have been the Indian Hockey League with foreign players and then slowly built itself on a world platform. Being aligned in India has its issues. And hockey as a sport is suffering because of that.
Why has Dhanraj Pillay who has the good of Indian hockey embedded in his ‘soul’ not said a word to the players or offer sane advice?
Where has the stringent voice of Harendra Singh who offered to resign when India lost to Malaysia in the semi-finals of the Asian Games not raising his voice and saying ‘Players should play for India. India comes first.’
Why is Vasudevan Bhaskaran, who is the first to throw his hat into the ring when a coaching job comes along as quiet as a mouse in Chennai?
Where has the know-all KPS Gill gone? Who does he play for – IHF, HI or India?
Why is Ajay Maken so quiet? For sure he is not advising the Indian government on the Anna Hazare issue. Mr Sports Minister, you should have been first off the blocks in ensuring that the players return to the India camp.
Why is Pargat Singh not holding a press conference with both the bodies (since he is not a member of either of them) and ensuring that sanity returns?
Where are the Ashok Kumar’s, Zafar Iqbal’s, Ajit Pal Singh’s of the world? Are they only interested in ensuring that good foreign coaches never last in this country or do they have any feeling that hockey needs to win not them or IHF or HI?
Why selectors like Dilip Tirkey, Col Balbir Singh are mum about the issue?
Where have Narinder Batra and RK Shetty gone? Is this the way RK Shetty runs the multi-million dollar business of Religare? Is this why he is on the Board of Directors of Religare? Mr Shetty has ambitions of running and pouring money into Indian hockey but he cannot ask two players to return to the camp for the sake of India.
The simple fact is that nobody cares anymore. These are all individuals looking after their personal interests. For them Indian hockey is just another unidentified corpse lying in a morgue. But tell these former players to be managers and coaches of the national team and they would be on the first flight to New Delhi.