Chandigarh, Feb 28: The World Series Hockey (WSH) today suffered a big blow with India players, including skipper Sardar Singh and star drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, likely to skip the inaugural cash-rich tournament beginning here tomorrow.
Chandigarh Comets take on Bhopal Badshahs, led by Sardar Singh, in the inaugural match here tomorrow and coaches of both the teams lamented that the “standoff” between Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was not helping the cause of players and the sport.
Addressing separate news conferences this evening at the Sector 42 hockey stadium here, coaches of the two teams said players were mature enough and they must take their own call to participate or not in the WSH over month-long tournament.
Comets' coach Harendra Singh said he had tried to talk to his players P R Sreejesh, Sarvanjit Singh and Birendra Lakra, but so far had received no reply from them regarding their participation.
“The India players have not reported to the camp yet. Bringing players is not in my domain. I will proceed with whatever I have and that's my job as a coach,” he said.
Harendra tried to put up a brave front when asked if it would take the sheen away from the tournament when star players will be missing.
“I will still like to take positive out of it. It will help bring to light some new talent, which in the long run will be good for Indian hockey,” he said, adding that despite the controversies “the show must go on”.
Asked about skipper Rehan Butt, who leds Chandigarh Comets, Harendra claimed he will be reaching here tomorrow from Pakistan, but his participation also remains doubtful considering the tournament is starting tomorrow itself.
Bhopal Badshahs coach Bhaskaran said that he was not sure about the participation of players including star India player Sardara Singh and Shivendra Singh.