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Baskaran tipped to take over as hockey coach

Baskaran emerged as the frontrunner with sources backing the former player to replace Rajinder Singh Junior.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2006 21:14 IST

Amid speculation of another unceremonious sacking of the national hockey coach, Olympian V Baskaran was on Sunday tipped to take over the reins of the struggling team, for the second time in six years.

Baskaran, who guided India to Asian Games gold in 1998, one of the very few highs of the India team in the last decade, emerged as the frontrunner for the job with sources backing the former player to replace incumbent Rajinder Singh Junior.

"Baskaran is most likely to replace Rajinder Singh," sources in the Indian Hockey Federation said.

"The official announcement of Baskaran's recall is expected on Monday or the day after," they added.

"In fact, well before the team left for Melbourne, Baskaran was all set to take over with Harender Singh as his assistant. But due to the pressure from certain quarters and wary of facing the media over the issue, the IHF recalled Rajinder for the job."

Baskaran, on his part, said he was willing to take on the mantle of the coach if the job was offered to him.

"If the IHF offers me the post of national coach, I will gladly accept it," Baskaran said from Hyderabad.

Speculation is rife that Rajinder is on his way out due to his failure to extract any sort of positive result from the players.

In fact, under him India have managed only to bring up the rear in the five international meets they participated in the last one year.

Baskaran was at the helm when India won the Asian Games gold medal in 1998 in Bangkok and has also been the coach of the junior team.

The post of national hockey coach has seen a game of musical chairs in recent years.

Cedric D'Souza was coach from 1994 to '97 but was removed after the Atlanta Olympics to make way for Baskaran.

Cedric was brought back after the Sydney Olympics but was axed midway through the 2002 World Cup in controversial circumstances.

Rajinder Singh Senior took over but was replaced with German Gerhard Rach just before the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Later, Rach fell out with the Federation and made way for Rajinder Singh Junior.

First Published: Apr 02, 2006 21:14 IST