"Hockey is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the country. The discipline immediately needs oxygen," said Pargat Singh, the man who heads the development panel of Hockey India (HI).When the obvious irony of criticising the plans that are under his purview was pointed out he said, "More reforms could be done working within the system".
Pargat, who heads the panel to select a foreign coach in the next 15-days, pressed on in his attack on his colleagues. "The way HI is functioning, it would be difficult for the national squad to achieve a 2012 Olympic berth." This comment comes at a time when HI is struggling to find a solution to India's dismal performance in last month's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
With the next camp around the corner, and only 15 days to spot a foreign expert, things have become more complicated. "Given the time constraint, an ideal foreign coach would be difficult to rope in. Coaches who were available for the job in December/January, may not be available now," he said.
Pargat continued to hit out at HI, saying people running the show were not professional, and they had not acted on his proposal to appoint a foreign expert, which he submitted five months ago. "But after missing out on a podium finish in Malaysia, the debate is still on to appoint foreign expert. In the process vital time has been lost."The Olympian conceded that the standard of hockey would not improve as long as two national units functioned in the country. "There is confusion in the minds of the players. Legal dispute is hampering development of the discipline. It's time people bury the hatchet and work from a common platform," he suggested.
Pargat warned that if things didn't improve, he would sit on a hunger strike on August 29, the National Sports Day and hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand's birthday.