The Indian hockey team might have missed the bus to Beijing, but the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) ad-hoc committee for hockey is sending four coaches — M.K. Kaushik, A.K. Bansal, Harinder Singh and goalkeeping coach A. B. Subbiah — for the Games to observe the participating teams and give a detailed report to the committee.
Even as the IOA president and ad-hoc committee chairman, Suresh Kalmadi spoke at length about the revival of Indian hockey and the steps being taken in that direction, what surprised the media was the absence of selection committee chairman Aslam Sher Khan.
Later, Kalmadi cleared the air, saying that another Ex-Olympian, Ajit Pal Singh, had replaced Aslam as per the ‘rotation policy’ of the committee. Strangely, when the five selection committee members — chairman Aslam Sher Khan, Ashok Kumar, Zafar Iqbal, Ajit Pal Singh and Dhanraj Pillay —took charge for the first time a few months back, there was no talk of 'rotation policy'. Aslam Sher Khan was unavailable for comments.
It was a gathering of past and present hockey greats with the likes of Ashok Kumar, Ajit Pal Singh, Gurbux Singh, Commander Nandi Singh, Harbinder Singh, M.P Ganesh, Dilip Tirkey among others taking turns to highlight the pressing issues needed for the revival of Indian hockey.
Kalmadi refused to comment on who would be the next Indian coach but said the ad-hoc committee had short-listed quite a few names. Asked whether the chief national coach would be one among the four coaches going to Beijing, he only said, “The decision will come in a few days.” Women's hockey coach, M.K. Kaushik, one of the leading contenders for the post said he would use the opportunity to gain knowledge about the playing style of the top hockey-playing countries. Kalmadi also informed that the national c’ships would be conducted at Pune around December this year after the Commonwealth Youth Games.