In a shocking turn of events in Indian hockey, long time captain Sardar Singh was removed from his leadership role and replaced by goalkeeper PR Sreejesh for the contingent heading to Rio Olympics.
In a shocking turn of events in Indian hockey, long time captain Sardar Singh was removed from his leadership role and replaced by goalkeeper PR Sreejesh for the contingent heading to Rio Olympics. Sardar has been leading the team since 2012. Not just that, the vice-captain’s role has been handed over to SV Sunil.
Sreejesh has been a great asset between the goalposts, but Sardar Singh too was stellar for the team leading up to Rio, but Hockey India tossed the long-term plans out of the window giving the former leadership status, that too so near the Olympics. The immediate factor behind the move looks to be that under Sreejesh’s leadership, the team had won the silver medal at recently held Champions Trophy hockey tournament in London, breaking a 38-year drought in this tournament.
The Indian hockey team had held the rampaging Australian team to a draw and lost the final only after a match-deciding penalty shoot-out. Sardar Singh was absent from this premier tournament and the reason that was given was that he was being ‘rested’.
Sardar Singh on the other hand has been facing problems in his private life. Rape allegations have been made against him by a British woman and his form as mid-field mainstay on field has been patchy.
However, Sardar has not been removed from the squad and thereby gets a chance to redeem himself.
But the question that must be going through fans’ minds must be ‘why now’. Why is Hockey India timing so off? If it was deemed so necessary, the same move could have been made much earlier. Sacking a team member, leave alone a captain, is too big a move and can have a tremendous negative impact.
Here is the squad announced today:
Squad: PR Sreejesh (goalkeeper and Capt), Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinderpal singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Manpreet Singh, Sardar Singh, VR Raghunath, SK Uthappa, Danish Mujtaba, Devinder Walmiki, SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Ramandeep singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah.
On stand-by are: Pradeep Mor, Vikas Dahiya (Reserve Goalkeeper).
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