Gurbaj Singh needs to reform, says Hockey India chairman Harbinder
Indian hockey team midfielder Gurbaj Singh was yesterday handed a 9-month suspension by Hockey India. The 27-year-old was charged with ‘misbehaviour and creating disharmony within the team’.
Singh’s nine-month suspension may surprise many and may not surprise some, but if you hear it from Hockey India’s disciplinary committee chairman Harbinder Singh, it is crystal clear that the vastly talented Indian midfielder may be given one final opportunity to redeem himself. “Gurbaj has issues with Michael Nobbs during the 2012 London Olympics as well as with the trainer David among others. He was kept out of the national fold for a long time and he was given another chance to resurrect his career. He has again indulged in unbecoming behavior, which is detrimental to the interests of the team,” says Harbinder.
One can understand that Gurbaj has gone wrong, but considering that he is popular among team members, will he resort to groupism?
“Tell me one thing – would Michael Nobbs or Jude Felix have anything against Gurbaj? Jude Felix is the third person after Nobbs and David to complain against him. As far as groupism is concerned Gurbaj tried to influence the likes of Dharamvir Singh, Manpreet Singh and Sarvanjit Singh at the London Olympics. He refused to switch positions at the London Olympics and during the league game against Germany he refused to give up his right-half position. He was adamant that he would play only in right-half position. In Olympics you can take only sixteen players and every player should be ready to play in any position as per the team’s needs as the coach wishes,” former Olympian Harbinder reveals.
Harbinder says Gurbaj has to pull up his socks and improve his behaviour, if not only his performance. “He has to reform himself. He can appeal against the nine month and always return to the side if his appeal is upheld.“
How much will India need Gurbaj at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and what are their chances?
“He is a talented player and has been outstanding for us in recent times. India will need Gurbaj for the Rio Olympics, but first he has to improve his behaviour. Performing is one thing and being indisciplined is quite another. Even Jude Felix stated in his report that he is one of thebest players in the team but he has to reform himself as far as his behaviour is concerned,” concludes Harbinder.