The World Series of Hockey (WSH) may be seen by many as a means to revive the national game, but on the eve of its inaugural match between Chandigarh Comets and Bhopal Badshahs, to be played here on Wednesday evening, the ongoing tussle between Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) dominated proceedings.
In the wake of the probables being announced by HI for the Olympics preparatory camp starting in Bangalore on March 5, it is now certain that seven prominent players from both the teams may give the match, and even the event, a miss.
These players include Bhopal’s Sardara Singh, Tushar Khandekar, Shivendra Singh and VR Raghunath, and Chandigarh’s PR Sreejesh, Birender Lakra and Sarvanjit Singh.
Vasudevan Bhaskaran and Harendra Singh, coaches of Bhopal and Chandigarh, respectively, said that the situation will become clearer only on Wednesday morning. “As far as I know, negotiations are going on between HI and IHF in Delhi.
I can only hope that the players in question can take part in the event later,” said Bhaskaran, while criticising HI for its stand on WSH. “By preventing our players from participating in such an event, HI is doing a great disservice to the game.”
Harendra said that he was still optimistic about the seniors’ participation: “But even if that doesn’t happen, I’m sure that WSH will unearth new talent.”
Bhaskaran also said that the sports ministry should intervene to resolve the current tussle between the two hockey bodies.
Chandigarh coach Harendra said that team skipper Rehan Butt would join the team on the morning of the inaugural match, while Bhaskaran, upon being asked about Sardara not leading the team in the opener, said that the final call will be taken after the management’s deliberations on Wednesday morning.
Saif, Mika to perform at WSH opening
World Series Hockey is set for a star-studded opening, with Bollywood celebrities like Saif Ali Khan, Neha Dhupia and singer Mika all set to perform at the event on Wednesday in Chandigarh.