Former captain Sardar Singh joins Hockey India as selector, says will focus on finding balance between youth and experience

'I would like to confirm the news. It is a new challenge, and I am always ready to offer my services to Hockey India to the best of my abilities. I think it's a very exciting opportunity,' Sardar said.

Shantanu Srivastava January 15, 2019 19:22:02 IST
Former captain Sardar Singh joins Hockey India as selector, says will focus on finding balance between youth and experience
  • The 13-member selection committee is headed by former Olympian BP Govinda

  • India's last assignment — FIH World Cup — ended in disappointment for the hosts, who crashed out from the 16-team event after a quarter-final loss to The Netherlands

  • Sardar didn't advocate large-scale changes in the squad and insisted on building a balanced team.

New Delhi: Former hockey captain Sardar Singh is now a selector. The 32-year-old confirmed the development to Firstpost on Tuesday, signalling a new chapter after his unfortunate fallout with Hockey India following his unceremonious exit — that pushed him into retirement — last year. The 13-member selection committee is headed by former Olympian BP Govinda.

"Yes, I would like to confirm the news. It is a new challenge, and I am always ready to offer my services to Hockey India to the best of my abilities. I think it's a very exciting opportunity," Sardar said.

Former captain Sardar Singh joins Hockey India as selector says will focus on finding balance between youth and experience

Sardar Singh has joined Hockey India as a selector. Reuters/File

India's last assignment — FIH World Cup — ended in disappointment for the hosts, who crashed out from the 16-team event after a quarter-final loss to The Netherlands. The poor return was partly ascribed to India's questionable selections that saw Sardar and defender Rupinderpal Singh being dropped before the marquee event. Other experienced campaigners — SV Sunil and Ramandeep Singh — missed out due to injuries.

Sardar, however, didn't advocate large-scale changes in the squad and insisted on building a balanced team.

"We won't look for any wholesale changes. Being a former player myself, I understand the efforts that a player puts in, and it obviously doesn't feel nice if a deserving player is shown the door. So it's not that I am here to bring any major changes.

I am a firm believer of experience. I will take decisions based on current form. In modern hockey, age is just a number if you are fit. If an experienced player is not performing up to the merit, we will give a chance to a youngster, but if an older player is fit and is playing well, I don't think we should remove him. I think Indian hockey needs players such as PR Sreejesh, SV Sunil and Rupinderpal Singh. Of course, the entire selection committee is involved in decision-making, but my endeavour will be to find a right mix of youth and experience," he added.

On being quizzed about the removal of Harendra Singh as the coach of the senior men's team recently, Sardar said that Hockey India gave the coach very little time to show his worth.

"Harendra was one of the best Indian coaches we ever had. He has grown immensely as a coach over the years. I think he was given very little time to prove himself, and he did his best. He coached India in 4-5 events, and out of those we finished on the podium in three competitions. That, I think, is a very good result. Of course, you won't always get the result you want, but I think he did his best," Sardar, who has played under the tutelage of Harendra, said.

Further, Sardar, who is mulling a club career in Europe, said his prospective move will not interfere with his official duties as there is enough time to balance the two.

India's next international assignment will be the Hockey Series Finals in Bhubaneswar in June (6-16), which will also be a qualifier event for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

"Our next tournament is in June. I have offers from certain clubs in Spain and Belgium, and I will have enough time to balance my duties as a selector and pursue my club stint," he signed off.

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