Sardar Singh retires from International hockey, Sandeep Singh reckons it is the right decision
Former India drag flicker Sandeep Singh thinks veteran Sardar Singh is right in hanging up his stick; says decision will open doors for a younger player
India hockey veteran Sardar Singh hung his head in utter disappointment when teammate SV Sunil missed his second attempt in the penalty shootout (sudden death) during the Asian Games semi-final against Malaysia in Jakarta recently. India lost the match and with it a chance to directly qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Yesterday, after he was not named in the 25 probables for the Asian Champions Trophy in Oman, he hung up his stick, deciding he will not don the Indian blue jersey again. He may continue playing domestic hockey though. However, while Indian hockey fans may have mixed reactions about Sardar's international exit, given his inconsistent form in Jakarta, his good friend and former India drag flick ace Sandeep Singh believes Sardar, 32, has made the call at the right time.
'Well thought-out decision'
"Sardar has made the right decision and I'm sure he has thought hard about this. While hockey fans the world over will miss seeing him in India colours, the reality is that modern hockey is all about youth and somewhere deep down even Sardar would have realised that," Sandeep told mid-day over the phone from Chandigarh yesterday.
Sandeep should know better. The duo have been together through thick and thin on and off the field over the years. "Sardar and me have played most of our junior hockey together for our state, Haryana. We then joined Haryana Police in the same position [Deputy Superintendent of Police]. We have been good friends for a long time. I know that Sardar cannot think bad for Indian hockey.
Though he may be disappointed at not being picked in the national probables, he would have made this decision only keeping the good of the Indian hockey in mind," added Sandeep, 32. Modern hockey is very testing and it's not easy for players in their 30s to succeed consistently over a long period, Sandeep couldn't agree more.
Over to youngsters
"Sardar played for 12 years. Even I played for 12 years and being a drag flicker to last that long was not easy for me. He has played a respectable and responsible innings for Indian hockey. His decision will open doors for a younger player now. Indian hockey has a good youth set up and it is now up to these younger players to bring laurels to the country. Well played, Sardar."
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