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WSH - Indian Hockey's Loss

Before writing this one, I had abstained from blogging on Indian hockey for some time now. I had a serious trepidation about India’s qualification for the 2012 Olympic games and the performance of the Aussie import coach Michael Nobbs. That’s what my last blog said. But, I’m happy that India has qualified even though the double punch is missing and the brave womens’ team fell to the better South Africans. And Michael Nobbs may after all change Indian hockey’s fortunes.

Now I look forward to India surprising some of the best at the OGs.

Earlier, I was vehemently critical of World Series Hockey. WSH had the potential to inflict a destructive and divisive punch to Indian hockey, tearing the sheer fabric and negating any gains Michael Nobb’s wards had made in preparation and during the Olymic games qualifier in Delhi.

However, on second thoughts and on watching Youtube highlights of the on-going WSH, I have revised my view of the tournament. Now I feel that Hockey India’s boycott of the WSH has done grave disservice to Indian hockey and more so to short-listed Indian hockey players who have been prevented from playing the WSH.

HI should have encouraged the Indian team to participate in the WSH and Nobbs and the selectors should have camped at the matches to closely observe about 180 Indian players to choose the best for the Olympics.

Now we know that the core Indian team shall be from the 48 or so chosen for the Olympic games ongoing camp. HI has vindictively shut the door on the other 180 playing the WSH. Effectively, HI has chosen not to field the best at the OGs, but the most complaint 48 which have been asked to attend the camp and boycott the WSH.

Even though FIH has threatenend to disbar players who participate in non-approved tournaments (read WSH) and HI has lamely towed their line; there are several top tier players from India and Pakistan who, lured by money and fame, have decided to disregard the diktat if HI and PHF. Admittedly, some of them such as Shakeel Abassi, Rehan Butt, Rajpal Singh and Arjun Halappa are over the hill, but many others have many hockey playing years still left in them.

FIH and HI intend to hold a WSH style tournament later in the year to fill their coffers. But, I feel they have missed the bus. WSH shall grow in stature and amass more and more wealth. The eventual losers shall be Indian Hockey and FIH. Serves FIH and HI right for being egotistical and zealous spoil-sports.

But, it pains me to see that inspite of the bright spark during the OG qualifiers, Indian hockey and mostly the richly deserving Indian hockey players continue to suffer at the hands of self-serving, gutless hockey administrators. Nothing ever changes for Indian hockey. Gutter politics, rudderless governance and the spineless sports ministry continue to devastate Indian hockey. It’s like carrion picking at the wounded body of Indian hockey. Even the Indian sports minster; a dynastic-ally appointed toothless punch bag masquerading as a messiah of Indian hockey, is powerless to stem the rot. Shame on Maken. If he is this ineffective in resolving the rift between HI and IHF, then why have a minister at all? Waste of taxpayers money and the space that he occupies in the ministry. Shameful!

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