After scoring twice for employers Air-India in the Mumbai Hockey Championships yesterday, Team India stand-by Arjun Halappa tells MiD DAY, that though he is undecided on retirement yet, he's happy doing domestic duty for now

Former India captain Arjun Halappa was busy slamming home drag-flicks for his employers Air-India (vs Mumbai Customs), in the quarter-finals of the Mumbai Hockey Championships at MHA Mahindra Stadium here yesterday, even as he was not supposed to be in Mumbai in the first place.

Four-time Olympian Dhanraj Pillay (right) speaks to his Air-India
teammate Arjun Halappa after yesterday's 9-0 drubbing of Mumbai
Customs in the Mumbai Hockey Championships at the MHA-Mahindra
Stadium here. pic/atul kamble

Halappa was named among the four stand-bys in the Hockey India-selected 18-member Indian team that will play in the Olympic Qualifiers (February 18-26) in New Delhi. He was expected to train with the team (in Delhi) just like the other three stand bys -- Manjeet Kullu, VS Vinay and Chingelsana Singh. However, Halappa left for home (Karnataka) and after spending a couple of days with his family, decided to turn-out for his employers in Mumbai.

"I've not yet quit international hockey but I'm not motivated to play for India any more," Halappa told MiD DAY here yesterday. Halappa and another former India captain Rajpal Singh, also dropped from the national team, threatened to quit recently but both are yet to make any formal announcement on the same, "I don't wish to be on theĀ  stand-bys, so I left Delhi after informing the relevant team officials," he added, dismissing fears of any consequential disciplinary action he may have to face. "I really don't care (about any action). I've played for India for so long (over a decade) and did not deserve to be treated like this," said Halappa, who scored twice in Air-India's 9-0 rout of Mumbai Customs yesterday.

As for a probable return to the Indian team, Halappa has kept his options open. "I will take a month to decide (if I wish to retire from international cricket). That's all I'll say for now," he said. However, sources within the national team told MiD DAY that the attacking midfielder's return is highly unlikely. "Coach Nobbs is disappointed with what Arjun has done (walked off from the ongoing camp). Rules and regulations apply equally to junior as well as senior players. Besides, Arjun has categorically told Nobbs that he does not wish to play under him, so where's the question of a return," said a source. Meanwhile, Hockey India yesterday announced that Bharat Chikara has replaced Halappa as a stand-by in Team India.