Kolkata: The Bengal Hockey Association (BHA) has ordered a probe, after one of the U-19 players alleged that their coach Anand Kumar, made all the players to shave their heads as punishment for losing a match.
The team that was representing the state in the recent Hockey India Junior National Championship, suffered a 1-5 defeat to the Namdhari XI in the quarterfinal in Jabalpur on January 16.
Kumar, who was reportedly infuriated over the team’s poor performance, allegedly asked the players to shave their heads upon returning to Kolkata as a form of punishment. Two days later, the players shared a photo with most of them posing with shaved heads.
The coach has denied all allegations of pressuring the players, stating that he spoke purely out of frustration and did not mean his words. Some of the players, too, said they shaved their heads “out of respect” and not under any pressure.
However, team member Gautam Sharma, who refused to shave his head alleged that the players took the step in order to “save their career.”
“Our coach was very angry over our performance and asked all of us to shave head as punishment. I refused and told him that as per our custom we shave our head only if someone dies in the family,” he said.
Taking cognizance of the matter, Assistant Secretary of Bengal Hockey Association, Ishtiaq Ali, said, “There are some contradictions which need to be cleared. Today, we will issue a notification for hearing and all the concerned people, including the coach, the manager as well as the players will be asked to clarify their points.”
He added that while it is strange of the team players to shave their heads, two days after returning from the tournament, “the motive behind such an act needs to be understood.”