Even as star drag-flicker Sandeep Singh’s omission from both the Indian teams — the first for the Hockey World League Round 2, to be played in Delhi (February 18 to 24), and for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia (March 6 to 17) — surprised many, Hockey India general secretary Narinder Batra felt there was nothing to be alarmed about.
“I don’t make selection decisions and I don’t influence the selectors either. If the selectors have not picked a player they will definitely have their reasons and I am no one to question them. All I can say is that they have picked the teams keeping the future of Indian hockey in mind and that’s the reason there are so many youngsters in both teams,” Batra told MiD DAY over the phone from Ranchi yesterday.
When told that Sandeep could be disappointed considering he is the leading goal-scorer in the ongoing Hockey India League (HIL) with 11 goals to his name, Batra, who is also the chairman of the HIL, shot back: “I can understand that a particular player may be disappointed at not being picked into the Indian team, but let me tell you that the national selectors are not here to please anyone.”
Though Sandeep has done well in HIL, his team, Mumbai Magicians, have lost 10 out of 11 matches so far and are out of the semi-final race. And the fact that he is the team’s marquee player, could have worked against him in this case. Batra, however, did not wish to delve into details. “It’s very simple. If a player hasn’t made it to the Indian team, it means he has not done enough to impress the selectors. So, I believe he will have to do more, work harder, if he intends to make a comeback,” he signed off.