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Why Dhanraj Pillay should not be a Selector? (10/1/2008)
--K. Arumugam
Dhanraj is face of contemporary Indian hockey.

He is now is in the tight company of Selectors who in the recent past either ‘selected’ him or ‘sacked’ him.

Average age of other four selectors is 58 while Dhanraj is just 40.

Barring Ashok Kumar, others in the present Selection Committee had played a role, positive or otherwise, in his chequered career.

By being party to KPS Gill, or in their capacity as ‘Observers’ most of the selectors have made a mark in his career at one point of time or other. Or, at least did not bother about him (malfeance), allowing Gill to do whatever he wants to do.

Ajit Pal Singh, in his Sydney World Cup report, castigated Dhanraj Pillay and described him ‘down the hill’. Pillay went on to play 10 more years.

Dhanraj definitely have an axe to grind against most of the co selectors.

So, Dhanraj Pillay would clearly feel out of sorts in the company of elderly ‘Selection Committee’.

On their part, the elderly gentleman have never had a good word for him. Zafar Iqbal is an exception. The World Cup Goldies time and again made a mock out of Dhanraj never winning a medal at the Olympics or the World Cup.

But the fact one cannot deny is, today’s world can identify Dhanraj and definitely not the others irrespective of their exalted position in the hockey fraternity. The former giants rock in the media because they are able to access seat of power – and most importantly they happen to live in the happening place called Delhi.

I repeat Dhanraj is face of contemporary Indian hockey (two books on him, remember).

This is the exact reason I feel strongly that Dhanraj Pillay should not be a Selector.

Dhanraj has first hand knowledge of world hockey, unlike others in the Selection Committee. A star of synthetic turf era, Dhanraj played for leading clubs in Malaysia to Germany to England to France, where not.

In all those stints, Dhanraj must have gained fair idea on how hockey is run in those parts of the worlds.

We expect the knowledge to percolate down in our system. Only he can do this. He is the best suited candidate to revise, overhaul and usher in a paradigm shift in our policies and perceptions.

Dhanraj’s words count. He is close to ad-hoc Committee Chairman, Suresh Kalmadi. Whenever Dhanraj was dropped, Kalmadi used to release statements in his support.

He is definitely close to emerging power centre, Sahara Pariwar, too.

Dhanraj, a legend we all saw him playing, is thus in an envious position to score points with the power that be.

He can uplift his status from mundane Selector to uniqueness which can transform hockey the way we all want. Dhanraj’s media power is unparalleled.

But why is he belittling himself with a Selector’s post which he openly distastes?

He is still playing. Reports indicate he played a vital role in Air India outplaying Indian Oil Corporation in the Gurmit Hockey Final on Tuesday.

If you are an active player, you bound to have opinion for and against players on the other side, if not in your own team. When you count yourself an active player, how can you be impartial when happen to sit in the seat of judgment?

See some other developments. The moment Harendra was talked about replacing MK Kaushik, media largely reported it was at the prompting of Dhanraj. This he has not officially disputed yet.

However, to verify the fact is beyond our scope.

Harendera has been in the thick of coaching since a decade and will get his due on his own merit.

Presently a view is emerging strongly that Harendera is in the position in which he is now, not because of his competency but because of Dhanraj.

Such view, yet to be ascertained -- and perhaps will never be ascertained -- is good for neither Dhanraj Pillay nor Harendera.

A balanced position in this context is, both are distinct personalities having their own identities.

But the present scenario sullies the image of both, and there by in a larger context the hockey itself.

This is for the exact reason this writer feels Dhanraj should not belittle himself being a Selector, a process the rest of the world has long forgotten.

The concept of Selection Committee survives only in Malaysia, Pakistan and India, where former players are media darlings. These three countries are not heading towards great heights, that we know.

Therefore, we are losing a precious possession with us -- Dhanraj Pillay. He can transform Indian hockey. He has the potential, but is unnecessarily rotten in a vicious process called team selection. In the rest of the world, it is purely a job of chief coach.

The hockey world expects bigger things, better things from its warrior. He can deliver if he comes out of this largely ornamental post and its inherent pettiness. Say, for instance, if Dhanraj pitches himself to play for India once again or be one of the coaches, the wheels will soon turn. Little birds will say, Harendera is returning the favours!

Dharaj is in the danger of closing all the doors by being a Selector!

The Indian hockey world expects a lot from its great son.

He can if he wants to.

For that he has to dissociate with the faulty process called Selection -- team and others.

Will he?


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Players needed for hockey
by soman bose on 10/5/2008 10:46:20 AM
There may be doubts cast on what a player does, but need to keep doing good things for the sport. i know great pillay often leaves bitter taste in the mouth.
by Ram Ratan on 10/4/2008 7:42:50 PM
he is a good player. how about him contesting IHF election?
great player
by Ramachandran S on 10/3/2008 11:45:53 PM
pillay is gr8 player, no doubt about it. but ajit pal aond others are not less popular than him. they should all work as a unit, media also should encourage them. dhanraj is heart is in coaching, can hardly assume admn responsibilities.
learn from cricket
by soman bose on 10/2/2008 9:41:13 PM
in BCCI, player becomes eligible for selector minimum 10 years after official announcement. when did pillay stop playing for India?

by Editor Arumugam on 10/2/2008 9:51:53 PM
Dear Visitor, by announcement you mean retirement, I suppose.