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What does Yuvraj Walmiki have in store hockey-wise?

Suhrid Barua
FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
873   //    06 Apr 2016, 12:47 IST
Yuvraj Walmiki
Walmiki in action against Singapore

Strange player selections are nothing ‘uncommon’ in Indian hockey. Take the case of talented forward Yuvraj Walmiki, who has been forced into international wilderness by the hockey selectors and coaches concerned for reasons beyond our understanding.

We all know how Yuvraj has been getting a raw deal from the selectors and the coaches in recent times, but what is deeply disappointing to know is that the Mumbai youngster, who recently appeared in the Colours television channel’s reality show Khatron Ka Khiladi Season 7, was named among the 33 probables for the year’s first national camp (currently on at the SAI South Centre in Bengaluru) in preparation for the Rio Olympics as well as for the upcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

What is strange is that Yuvraj was named among the probables and rightfully arrived in Bengaluru in time for the camp but left after spending a few days. One does not know what transpired that led to him leaving.

Hockey India insiders say the Mumbai lad was merely summoned to the Bengaluru camp to complete his rehab and was not seen as a serious contender for one of the forward spots for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. This is not the first time that Yuvraj has been meted out step-motherly treatment by the selectors and coaches of Hockey India.

A closer look at the Indian hockey team

Let us a take a closer look at the Indian forward line and see why somebody like Yuvraj is made to look like he does not fit in the team’s scheme of things. Players like SV Sunil and Akashdeep Singh have done enough to merit a regular place in the side and no one disputes that. But what about Nikkin Thimmaiah and Ramandeep Singh?

Their inconsistency has indeed harmed the side, especially, Ramandeep, who somehow seems to have the full backing of the board despite under-performing in crunch situations.

Talwinder Singh and Mandeep Singh are promising youngsters, but still raw and, at least, Yuvraj Walmiki with his experience and crafty play could be a better bet than Talwinder and Mandeep.

But it is beyond our understanding why players such as Mandeep, Talwinder, Ramandeep and Nikkin keep getting a longer rope and someone like Yuvraj often gets dumped at regular intervals.

More importantly, Yuvraj is never allowed to settle in the side whenever he makes a comeback and is often dropped after one or two tournaments. One hopes that Yuvraj Walmiki is not non-grata in the Indian team’s scheme of things.

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