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We Tend to Forget Everything (2/21/2001)

Recently we witnessed the screaming headlines: 'Dhanraj Pillay Dropped', 'Dhanraj Not in the World Cup Qualifier', `IHF Ignores Seniors' etc. Next day we woke up to read: 'Dhanraj among the Azlan Probables', Dhanraj Recalled' etc. Not to be outdone, Dhanraj was in the news subsequently for a different reason - in the kidnap list of a notorious terrorist group. We are not going to discuss the last one. The so-called 'in' and 'out' of Dhanraj in the Indian teams surprises me and it needs a bit of clarification. At least it has not happened out of blue. If we get such a feeling, it is entirely of the making of press.

BANGALORE BANG: It is wonderous how we Indians tend to forget the things so shortly and frequently. So unprofessionally too. That Dhanraj Pillay will not be in the team for the World Cup Qualifier was not an instant news one collected at Taj Mansingh Hotel on 3rd of July when the team was announced there. It was made known three months back on the final day of the U&I Championship. That day(5th May) incidentally the executive committee meeting of the IHF was also held at the same place, Bangalore. After the meeting, the IHF released two set of probables, one for the Malaysia-New Zealand tour and the other for the Sultan Azlan Cup. It was also announced that time that the Wold Cup Qualifier team will be picked up from the team that would visit NZ and Malaysia and the Azlan camp will commence only in July.

A SACK THAT WAS NOT: The releasing of two sets of probables was a well thought out knack of IHF so that the exclusion of Dhanraj and other senior players from the WCQ team will not make any negative press. Every section of the media world, newspapers included, carried out these information though they did not bother to highlight or analyse the sidelining of the star players that time. The IHF only did the same. Whenever the question of sacking senior players are concerned, it always sticks to its stand. Hence, it announced the team for the WCQ on 3rd July in the Castrol sponsored function at Taj Mansingh. Where does, then, come the question of dropping Dhanraj for the WCQ as if it is a new development? To combat the misunderstanding that had been created by such propaganda, the IHF released the Azlan Shah probables list again on 4th July but not without its wonted quota of manipulative politics.

FISHING IN THE TROUBLED WATERS: Eleven players who were in the May list of the Azlan probables are not in the new list released on 4th July. They are both goalkeepers Jagdish Ponnappa and Kamaldeep Singh, defenders Rajnish Mishra, Len Aiyappa, Ajay Kumar and others like Sandeep Singh, Prabhat Saini, Altaf-ur-Rahman and Cyril Ekka. Why and how these players, who must have been selected based on some merit, were all of sudden dumped? Only does the IHF know. Two players from this list- Samir Dad and Brojen Singh - somehow made it the WCQ team. In fact, only nine out of 26 players who were in the May list are in the July list.

WAITING ANSWERS: The question now is, how many from the WCQ team now in Scotland will join the Azlan camp? This reverse influx is the likely situation. Then why so many probables now? Everything is pretty kettle of fish now. It's really an ideal situation for the IHF to rein its whim and fancy in team selection. Can the media play its role of watchdog with more precision? At least it could have avoided creating a phobia that would in turn benefit the IHF.

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