India might have won one game and lost the next two, but as far as Hockey India is concerned, the players’ performances count for nothing much. If they did, then perhaps their own national selectors would have been invited to watch World Cup games.
The only thing they got, not as selectors but as former international players, was a communication to confirm the dates on which they would come watch the World Cup, so that tickets could be arranged for them. And when tickets for the VVIP stand (the Heritage Stand) were cancelled, the selectors were given passes for the VIP stand at the nth minute, but nowhere was it mentioned that they were national selectors. This, while Hockey India officials are enjoying the luxury of sitting in the main gallery and the VVIP enclosure.
“For every major tournament hosted in the country, there always used to be a separate enclosure where selectors could sit together and keep tab on the players’ performances, but not here,” a selector told Hindustan Times.
Hockey India had formed a five-member common selection committee --- BP Govinda, Col Balbir Singh, Muneer Sait, Madhu Yadav and Sita Gusain — for men and women. The HI sent the selectors to attend couple of women’s domestic tournaments, but not for any men’s events. And no current selector, barring Col Balbir Singh, who accompanied the team for the SAF Games in Bangladesh, was sent on any foreign tour. On a couple of occasions though, government observers were sent.
“We didn’t get any report from the manager, or whoever accompanied the team during these foreign tours, about the players’ performance, so it’s very difficult to keep a regular tab. And now, with the World Cup in India, HI is not bothered,” said another selector.
While HI and Indian Olympic Association guests have a band on their wrist signifying they can enter the VIP lounge during games and get a meal, the national selectors do not.
So it’s not surprising that Hockey India didn’t arrange accommodation for outstation selectors. Out of five, three, Govinda, Col Singh and Madhu Yadav have no base in Delhi. The latter two are both in town for the Cup. “If anybody asked us for accommodation we would have provided the same,” said HI’s Narinder Batra. “We are providing accommodation for so many people, including 20 officials here for an umpiring course.”
“Do they want us to beg?” retorted a selector.