NEW DELHI, India: By dropping 10 members of the national team which finished fifth in the second Indira Gandhi Gold Cup Hockey Tournament in Lucknow last month, the selection committee of the Indian Hockey Federation gives an impression as if it is going to ape its counterpart in Pakistan.
Distressed at dismal performances of its team in the Seoul Asian Games and the sixth World Cup Hockey Tournament in London in 1986, the Pakistan Hockey Federation made drastic changes in the team. All but two players were axed, within a year; Pakistan has built up a fine team. The new look Pakistan team won the Lucknow tournament hands down. Besides it won the Test series against the Netherlands and South Korea, Pakistan performed credibly well in the last Lada Classic International Hockey Tournament in London where it finished runner-up to Britain on goal average.
What Pakistan has done is that a number of youngsters who played for the national junior team have now been inducted in the senior team. The ‘only exceptions are skipper Nasir Ali and halfback Qasim Mohib.
On the other hand, the IHF selectors have followed sincerely their Pakistani counterparts as far as dropping ‘of senior players was concerned without realizing the usefulness of a player. Not only that, the selectors have at the same time reiterated their faith in some ‘old guards, including Merwyn Fernandes, Mohammed Shahid besides M.M. Sommaya and Manohar Shahib did not play for the country in the Lucknow tournament. In fact, Merwyn did not have a chance to play for the country as a ban was imposed on his international exposure following an ugly incident at Dhaka during the second Asia Cup Hockey final a few years ago. The ban was lifted only at the last meeting of the FIH in Brussels in October last year.
Further, the IHF selectors have brought in a number of new faces who have not played for India juniors even. Many of these would be attending a full-fledged national camp on Astroturf for the first time.
‘Among, goalkeeper, Marc Patter son, son of a former Indian Navy custodian, played for Indian colts in the inaugural Asia Cup for juniors in Karachi a few months ago India did not do well in the tournament.
Other two goalkeepers —— Sarabjit Kumar (Punjab) and Jagmohan (Services) have been called for the camp for the first time. R.S. Rawat and Harjinder had done duty for the country in the Lucknow tournament.
There is no change among fullbacks. Pargat, M.P. Singh, Manohar Topno, V.P. Singh and Nagender Kumar Singh, all are there.
The worst affected is the half line where dropping of Hardeep Singh looks unimaginable, Hardeep has been made a scapegoat for reasons better known to selectors. In fact, the coaches had been utilizing him at different positions in different situations. He continues to be the best center half in the country. See the replacements and the difference is obvious. Sommaya, senior most aged among halfbacks, was the one who could not take the load of physical conditioning during the camp for the Lucknow tournament. How come a player not cent per cent fit could come in for much younger, fitter and better player?
Surjit Kumar has been tried more than once as a left half back. He has never lived up to expectations. B.K. Subramani is a good center half to the extent he is defending. Among new boys Kirpal, Tejinder, John Fernandez and Vivek Singh have the potential but right now they are not the Olympic stuff. Experience has to be there in the halfling.
The case is no different with forward line. John Kerketta cannot be called a 70minute left winger of the caliber of international hockey. Even during National Hockey Championship, he was not playing for more than 30 minutes. In any case, the selectors will have to reconsider their options. If they want results as well as a team to come up, they cannot experiment with this bunch which is blend of old legs too heavy to carry their weights and raw players. There is hardly any in between, barring Balwinder and Jagbir Singh. Jude Felix has not madle it to the big level so far. Mohammad Shahid did not play in either of the two Indira Gandhi Gold Cup Tournaments for to be more precise he has not played for the country after he led India to wooden spoon in London.
KARACHI Pakistan: Selectors omitted three of the most experienced forwards from the Pakistan team named for the tenth Champions Trophy hockey tournament beginning in Lahore on March 25.
Outside left Wasim Feroze was sidelined for a thigh injury while center forward Mumtaz Haider and right winger Tahir Zaman were rejected for being out of form.
Fullback Nasir Ali will lead the side.
BOMBAY, India: A.S. Bawa of Delhi is the lone Indian umpire selected by the international hockey federation (FIH) to officiate in the Seoul Olympics men’s hockey tournament to be held in September. A total of 18 umpires have been: picked for the championship along. with five reserves and included in the area Santiago Deo (Spain), Louis Gillet, Alain Reneud (both France) and Graham Nash (Great Britain), who have been chosen for their fourth successive Olympic.