It’s our national game. It’s the World Cup. It’s happening in Delhi. But nobody seems to know or care about hockey in India. Nine days before the game’s biggest extravaganza — the Hockey World Cup — its venue, Dhyanchand Stadium, wears a deserted look, and young Delhi-ites say they are clueless about the event. But all this may change with Bollywood rallying to help Indian hockey build a better profile.
While actress Priyanka Chopra is supporting the event through TV ads, actress Anjana Sukhani will travel with the teams to cheer at the matches. Tomorrow, actor Suniel Shetty is organising a charity match in Chandigarh between Bollywood stars and the Indian hockey team, in which Irrfan Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Govinda, model Shahwar Ali will participate. “I was touched by the news of an ex-hockey player serving as a waiter,” says Irrfan, who became a part of the event “to help the game”. “I hope the glamour world turns up in big numbers,” says Ali.
Is it ‘some Singh’?
For now, though, public discussion is about whether cricket, instead of hockey, should be our national sport. While ‘Are We Real HOCKEY Supporter?’, an Orkut community with 4,500 members, debates this, HT City spoke to 40 youngsters, out of which 36 didn’t know when the hockey World Cup begins. Neither could they name the newly-appointed Indian hockey captain.
“Is it Dhanraj Pillay?” asked student Suheli Ghosh. Pillay last played in 2004, but we were happy to at least hear his name in light of other appalling answers that we got. “Some Singh,” was a safe bet. The right answer, Rajpal Singh, came from class VII student, Harshit Shaw. We dreaded to ask the names of other teammates thereafter.
—Inputs from Neha Sharma