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Hockey India behind my sacking: Rajpal

Hockey India behind my sacking: Rajpal

Rajpal said his removal from the side was for reasons other than hockey.

New Delhi: A dejected former India hockey captain Rajpal Singh Monday said he expected his exclusion from the list of 48 probables for the London Olympics and linked it to his refusal to accept the Rs 25,000 cash-prize after the Asian Champions Trophy victory.

Rajpal and another veteran player, Arjun Halappa, found all their hopes of making the trip to London dashed with the selectors announcing the names of the probables within hours of India qualifying for the Olympics July-August.

Rajpal, who has been dropped from the squad after the Asian Champions Trophy in China last year, said his removal from the side was for reasons other than hockey.

"I don't think my omission is on merit and I find it strange not to be even among 48 probables. It has nothing to do with my form, it is just that Hockey India (HI) marked me out for speaking for the players. I thought the authority would not get personal while picking the players," Rajpal told IANS Monday evening.

"I know HI was not happy with me ever since I objected to the paltry cash prize after the Asian Champions Trophy. But I have no regrets since what I did was in the interest of players and I still feel what I did then was right," Rajpal said.

Rajpal also said that Hockey India should take a cue from the Indian Cricket Board as to how to treat the senior players.

"I am really hurt on being ignored but certainly not shocked. This kind of treatment sets a bad precedent as junior players in the team do not get the amount of guidance they need.

"Look at the BCCI, senior India players Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag are not scoring runs in Australia but the cricket board has not dropped them because their is a way to treat the senior players.

"This is not the way to treat a senior player like Arjun Halappa. It gives a wrong signal to the youngsters as it may demotivate them."

Coach Michael Nobbs did not pick Rajpal for the home Test series against South Africa ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers.

The 28-year-old forward claimed he would have made the team for qualifiers had he been give a chance against South Africa.

"They knew that I would perform well against South Africa and they would be forced to include me in the team. I am disappointed that I won't be going to London, but I knew it was coming."

Rajpal did not read much into Nobb's role in his axing and said he had seen enough of the sport's administrators in the last 10 years.

"He has come only now. I have nothing against him. Obviously, he had to toe the official line," said Rajpal about coach Nobbs.

Rajpal made his international debut in 2005 and led the team in the finals of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2010 when India were declared joint winners with South Korea.

The striker has 147 international caps to his name and 52 goals.
first published:February 27, 2012, 19:39 IST