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Former captain Rajpal Singh says that certain captains are responsible for Gurbaj Singh's current plight

Rajpal Singh during his playing days

There are no prizes for guessing what price you have to pay for seeking justice in Indian hockey. And nobody perhaps knows it better than former Indian captain Rajpal Singh, who quietly went off the selectors’ radar after refusing to accept the shoe-string prize money of Rs 25,000 awarded to the national team, after he led the side to glory at the 2011 Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China.

The nippy forward was first ‘eased out of captaincy’ for the Australia tour in October 2011 with the captaincy armband worn by goalkeeper Bharat Chetri. Rajpal was subsequently shunted out of the national side a few months later for the 2012 Olympic qualifiers held in New Delhi – he thus attained a rare feat of leading the country to victory in an international tourney and never played for the country again, forgot being stripped of captaincy.

The former national captain has come down heavily on Hockey India for not facilitating Gurbaj’s participation in the 2016 Hockey India League. “Look, he is not among the 182 reserve player list and it is understand why Gurbaj’s name is missing from the list – it is simply because Hockey India does not want him to play in the HIL as they know if he performs in the league it will be difficult for them to keep him out of the national side.”

Rajpal has no doubts that Gurbaj deserves a place in the national side and does not believe much in the report submitted by Jude Felix. “The report has nothing substantial to merit a nine-month ban. It’s pre-planned strategy to finish off Gurbaj’s career. They just don’t want him to play for India. Hockey India does not need players but ghulams (slaves).”

The Punjab Police DSP was categorical that some of the captains under whom Gurbaj played also had their role in the treatment meted out to the talented right-half. “Some of the captains like Bharat Chetri and Sardar Singh he played under are also to be blamed for Gurbaj’s current plight.”

Want to know who else is part of ‘groupism’: Rajpal

He brushed aside allegations levelled against Gurbaj of indulging in groupism. “The report says Gurbaj has indulged in grouprism, which according to them is hurting the team. I want to know which other players are doing ‘groupism’ together with Gurbaj in the India team as one player alone cannot resort to groupism,,” he casts aspersions on the merits of the allegations levelled in the report.

What could be that one thing that is prompting Hockey India to act tough against Gurbaj? “At the 2011 Champions Challenge Tournament in South Africa our players were asked to sign an agreement not to play in the World Series Hockey (WSH) and Gurbaj refused to sign that agreement saying that he cannot sign anything as whether playing in the WSH is his own decision and, of course, he later never played in the WSH. I believe hockey authorities nurse a grudge against him for refusing to sign that agreement,” Rajpal reveals.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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