After a merger of the governing bodies, it’s time to have a common selection committee for the men and women's national hockey teams.
Hockey India has reconstituted the national selection committee and set up a new panel to pick both the men and women's team. Only two government nominees in the old panel — Zafar Iqbal and Ajitpal Singh — are part of the new committee as Dhanraj Pillay, Aslam Sher Khan and Ashok Kumar have been left out.
The new selection committee comprises BP Govinda, a member of the 1975 World Cup winning team, Col Balbir Singh, who represented India in the 1968 Olympics, Olympian Muneer Sait, Arjuna awardees Madhu Yadav and Sita Gusain.
“The earlier selection committee was under the aegis of the ad hoc committee set up by the Indian Olympic Association. As Hockey India has taken over, we have appointed new selectors,” Hockey India secretary Mohammed Aslam said.
Hockey India has also decided to have a fixed tenure for the selection committee. “They will have a tenure of a year. We don't want the selectors to continue for an indefinite period,” he said.
The committee is currently in Pune for the national camp and will pick the men's team for the tour of Canada from October 9-24. India will play seven tests in Victoria and Surrey, British Colombia.
“Canada have qualified for next year's World Cup in New Delhi and have invited us as part of their preparation. As we will be playing in the Champions Challenge I, to be held in Argentina from December 6-13, we have decided to accept their invitation,” said Aslam.
Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, New Zealand, Pakistan and Russia, besides India, will fight for a place in next year's Champions Trophy.
Aslam said the team would reassemble in Pune after the tour to prepare for the Champions Challenge I and would shift to Delhi once the stadium there is completed. “This will give the players some time to play on the new turf before the World Cup,” he said.
The team might also lay some international teams at home in November. “Teams that will be going to Australia for the Champions Trophy are interested in playing us. Germany and Holland have expressed interest and we may schedule some matches against them.”