Saturday, February 3, 2007

Dhanraj hits out

'I am still fit enough to play for India'

Indian hockey has plumbed to new depths. The team's performances in recent times has been abysmal, to say the least. Controversy over various matters, including team selection has cropped up now and then.
Veteran star Dhanraj Pillay, who has figured in three Olympic Games and has represented the country in over 400 matches, today took a dig at the
Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) top brass saying 'the IHF president K P S Gill and secretary K Jothikumaran ruined my career and that he was still fit enough to play for India.
Speaking to the media after presenting awards to meritorious students of Velammal School (West), who brought laurels to their school by participating in national and international-level competitions, he said, 'the duo (Gill and Jothikumaran) had been instrumental in bringing down the standard of Indian hockey to new levels, as a result of which the team needs to go through qualifying tournaments to get a berth in the Olympics to be held in China next year.'
On the issue of appointing a foreign coach, Pillay said, 'We have several Indians who can do the job. It is wrong to assume that the Indian team will shine only if it has a foreign coach.'
To a question on the present coach's (V Baskaran) performance, the veteran player said, 'He (Baskaran) is a failed coach. When he took over, he had then said I got a good team to put up a good performance in the World Cup and Asian Games. The results are there for you to see. India finished well below expectations, failing to even qualify for the semifinals in the Asian Games.'
Speaking about the ongoing Premier Hockey League in Chennai, Pillay said, 'It was conceived to develop the sport and to groom players for the national side. But the very objective is lost.'
On not playing in the PHL, Dhanraj said, 'I was ready for the tournament. In the earlier editions, I had played for Maratha Warriors. But this year, due to some internal politics, I could not make it'.