In the last couple of months, whenever there has been a national hockey camp or selection trials for the women, national chief coach MK Kaushik's inability to attend them has been lamented. On all these occasions, the Indian Women Hockey Federation (IWHF) has been unable to get Kaushik relieved from his employer, the Haryana Sports Department.
This time too, at the ongoing national camp in Lucknow, things have been no different. While the camp, for the forthcoming four-nation tournament and exposure trip in Germany and Holland, has been on since June 1, there is no sign of Kaushik.
The reason remains the same — IWHF has been unable to get leave for Kaushik from his employer. The state, however, says it has not received any request from the IWHF.
"Till now, we have not received any communication from the IWHF regarding the requirement of Kaushik for any national camp," said Sudhir Mohan, Director, Sports, Haryana. "Moreover, if the federation approaches us, we can only relieve him for a week or so, otherwise it will affect our own hockey programmes. Generally, IWHF wants Kaushik for months and we can’t afford that,” he said.
In fact, the Haryana government had earlier shot a letter to IWHF stating that it had already relieved Kaushik for two months during the Olympic qualifiers and now it could not spare him further as his services were required by the state. If it sticks to its words, then IWHF will have to find another national coach. “I can’t comment on it. But in the recent times, I have been more in news because of this issue than because of my coaching abilities and it really hurts,” said Kaushik. “One thing is clear that I am an employee of the Haryana government and without its permission I cannot go for any camp.”
IWHF officials, when contacted, said, “The federation has sought to get Kaushik relieved and is hopeful that he would soon be available for the camp.”
The federation held trials from May 22 to 24 in Lucknow to select a fresh pool of players for the forthcoming tournament and the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Auction a success
A couple of days before the auction of their jerseys took place, Prabhjot Singh, Rajpal Singh and Deepak Thakur were still unsure about the salability of their wares. They didn’t know what the auction would fetch and whether the amount would be enough to support the Dharm Singh Memorial Hockey Tournament in Chandigarh.
However, all their doubts were laid to rest as the auction raised a whopping Rs 2.3 lakh.
“I had never thought, even in my dreams, that the auction will help us raising lakhs of rupees for the hockey tournament,” said Rajpal Singh. “I was wrong to think that in a cricket-crazy country there would not be any takers for our jerseys.”
Jerseys of Prabhjot and Rajpal’s from the 2007 Asia Cup final fetched Rs 95,000 and Rs 75,000 respectively, while the jersey of Deepak Thakur that he wore during the 2004 Champions Trophy match against Pakistan in Lahore, went for Rs 60,000. India had won that game 7-4.