Sunday, December 26, 2004

A Tamasha called Indian Hockey

With due respect to our hockey players who, I am sure, have the potential to compete with the best in the world, I have to say things have come to a pretty ridiculous pass. Our performance in the Olympics was nothing short of pathetic, the fourth place finish in the Champions Trophy was bogus and there is utter confusion regarding the team composition as well as the coaching position. Mr. K P S Gill may have been a highly successful police administrator, but the team has continued to underperform during his reign at the IHF. And this has been a team with a lot of promise. It continues to stumble, and I suspect the IHF has a lot to do with that. Gill, Jyothikumaran (who has been with the IHF forever) and their cohorts have not only bungled time after time, they have blatantly influenced selection policy - or so it seems. In fact, until recently when the sports minister, Mr. Sunil Dutt, expressed his dismay over the seemingly arbitrary selectorial decisions, there was no selection panel! Now that is something that's unheard of in any team sport and Mr. Gill still has the cheek to make sarcastic remarks about the mental make up of our cricketers. It is just another illustration of the arrogance of the IHF as an organisation and perhaps, Mr. Gill personally. Of course, accountability is not even on the radar as far as the IHF is concerned. One wonders who Mr. Gill is accountable to. Even now, the seven member panel consists of four ex-players and three "file pushing" bureaucrats, reports I wonder why any selection panel has to comprise of anyone other than (former) players or coaches, that is, people with hockey credentials. I guess these gentlemen (or ladies, as the case may be) bring something to the table - dang...can't think of anything. May be it was the idea of one of these 'honourable' (a word that we are so fond of) people to make Gagan Ajit Singh cool his heels while our team struggled at the Champions Trophy. And this is one of two Indians who was nominated for the World Player of the Year. It is time for Gill, Jyothikumaran et al to go...or to be shown the door. Now, if I only had a gun... ...I would shoot myself watching our team collapse in the final seconds. - NK


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