Infighting, favouritism and arbitrary decision-making, ills that plagued Indian hockey in the past, have returned to haunt the ad hoc committee.
Three of the five national selectors are unhappy as they feel the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has failed to hand over the reins to former players as it had announced while suspending the KPS Gill-led IHF managing committee.
There are differences over sending the team to Argentina for a test series before the Punjab Gold Cup and selectors not getting to accompany the team on tours.
Another point of conflict is the functioning of Mohd Aslam Khan, convener of the ad hoc committee. Selectors claim they are not being consulted on key matters and not given opportunities to accompany the team on foreign tours. Aslam, they claimed, had gone on foreign trips.
“Some selectors want to keep their jobs and enjoy the perks, so they succumb to administrators, who have no knowledge of hockey,” said a selector on condition of anonymity.
“What’s the use of going to Argentina — which is on the other side of the planet and in a different time zone -when we have to play at home,” said another.
Chairman of the selection committee, Ajit Pal Singh, agreed but said, “Ideally, we should have played some matches in Asia or invited a team to play in India. But we can’t play Pakistan while South Korea has commitments. There is no point playing other teams as their standard is not good.” China, who denied India a semifinal spot in the Doha Asian Games, probably slipped his mind.
Preferring to be diplomatic, Ajit Pal said one of the selectors would soon be going on a foreign trip, but his colleagues were vocal. “Selectors need to be with the team to gain first hand knowledge on the players are playing. How can we judge a player if we haven’t seen him playing in international games,” said Ashok Kumar.
Fellow selector Aslam Sher Khan agreed. “People with no knowledge of hockey are accompanying the team while those who have played the game at the highest level are being ignored.” The selectors have placed their complaints against Mohd Aslam Khan before senior IOA officials.