Hockey India may have given its senior men’s hockey team an ultimatum, but how serious it is about the national sport can be gauged from these three facts:
1. Its officials have failed to organise a national championship since it was formed in May last year.
2. No selector has visited any of the men’s tournaments including the prestigious Surjit Singh Memorial, Gurmit Memorial, Bombay Gold Cup and the Nehru Cup.
3. HI officials are blatantly interfering in selection matters.
For instance, HI officials, none of who has wielded a hockey stick, short-listed 37 players for a preparatory camp in Lucknow for the upcoming SAF Games in Dhaka.
On Tuesday, the selection committee got into the act, but merely selected a squad on the basis of one evening session.
“Some players from the (Commonwealth Games) core group, not part of the World Cup camp, were included in the camp for Dhaka. Some are from last year’s junior Under-21 World Cup squad. But I have no idea about the other probables,” said BP Govinda, one of the five selectors.
“For clarification, speak to Hockey India,” he added.
The Hindustan Times has learnt that HI had included 13 probables from the core group, another handful from last year’s junior World Cup squad and the remaining without going through their credentials.
Not finding appropriate representation from the north, the HI officials added five-six players from the region of their choice.
An angry coach attached with the national camp said,
“Why do have selectors if it’s the officials who select players. If we want the best talent to come out, HI must send selectors to domestic tournaments.”
Madu Yadav, another selector, said, “HI had sent me to a couple of domestic women’s tournaments, but not for the men’s tournaments. I have no idea how the probables were selected.”