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‘Neglected’ players itching to be back in the camp (4/1/2010)
--K. Arumugam
‘Neglected’ players want to be back in the national camp

Most of the senior players who missed the recent World Cup are sad, and they want to make up now. This is the message one got when had an opportunity to interact with the likes of VS Vinaya, Prabodh Tirkey, William Xalxo, Ignace Tirkey and others recently at Bhopal where Obidullah Khan Gold Cup was revived, with top Indian teams in the fray.

Team selection for the recent World Cup was not a satisfying one, as half a dozen regulars were not available for selection. They all have been sidelined or went incommunicado after the now in-famous Canada Test Series tour.

Those players, most of whom did not bother when they were not called for the camp after the Canada tour, are now repented of their casualness, and are itching to be back in the training camp.

“In my home town a big screen was put up to watch the World Cup matches. Lot of people turned up to see them. When we started losing matches, one after other, people were sad and were cursing why we are not in the team. I also felt bad. I feel I should have been called for the camp after the Canada tour”, lamented a senior player who was also former captain.

When reminded whether it’s not his duty also to call the coaches and express his willingness to be back in the team, he shot back. “The coach perhaps thought they can make a suitable replacement for me and still win. They also have ego problems. Yes, I did not call the coaches then, I was expecting them to call me, but I will do so now. I regret I lost an opportunity to play the home World Cup. World Cup is not a small tournament, I should have been there, I should not have missed it”, said one of them.

It is now understood most of these players who missed the camp after Canada tour will be informing Hockey India of their willingness to be back in the camp and also declarie their physical fitness.

“I will be certainly writing to Hockey India, I have in me to play for some more years”, one of them said categorically.

William Xalxo, the star defender who is known for his conspicuous absence throughout last year, was also there, but is carrying injury. His team coach Sabu Varkey said that doctors could not even diagnose the exact nature of his injury.

“Only Chennai based doctor Kannan Pulagendhi could find out his problem is thigh muscles, he needs to go back to Chennai and take care of his injury. He needs lot of motivation, he can come back to Indian team if willing, and attends to his injury seriously”, Sabu said.

On his part William said, "I never went incommunicado, I was always available on mobile".

however, William was not even played here by his team, except a brief spell in the final when the chips were down for BPCL against Air India.

William need to be in the national camp to take care of his injury and if gets cured, can come back to the serious training after 2010.

I am of the view that discipline is the most important thing in the national camp. Coaches are the judges to decide on this. Players cannot pick and choose tournaments. At the same time, it is the foremost duty of the national coaches to see the best talents are in the national camp. Ego should not come in the way of striking this balance. One or two best talents can be sacrificed in the larger interest of the team and in long term perspective.

We only wish any recall should be on firm footing and solid understanding between the players concerned and the coaches. Indian team certainly needs a few exclusions and inclusions, which is any way a constant process, and it should not be for the sake of doing it. A disciplined and committed team that might look weak presently, will have the potential to bring laurels in the long run.

Coaches should have the last word in the matter of recall, but they should overcome personal egos if at all any. Country is first.

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