By K Arumugam
In a shocking development, Hockey India has decided to withdraw Indian team from Azlan Shah Cup, which was to start in early next month.
Hockey India, in a press statement, has blamed Government of India for sanctioning the team at no cost basis.
It is really saddening on the part of both, government of India and Hockey India to bring situation to this pass. Both seemed to have forgotten the fact that India has entered the tournament, and the decision will put a question mark on us.
The team, to be led by Danish Mujtaba, is essentially a development one, and is crucial to develop a strong team for the next year's World Cup, and to play in the relevant Hockey World League.
In normal course, government sanctions tours for Azlan Shah. We are not aware why it chose the way it did now. Government can be excused because it has been supporting all age groups national teams so far. Its history is impeccable.
Even if government fails to clear once in the long run, is it not the role of the national body to take care of hockey interests?
Hockey India's blunt mail that it is forced to withdraw national team, is a bad rank decision, a knee jerk reaction to an important decision.
Hockey India has money for many things, but not for this crucial tour.
Its worthwhile to mention here the organizers bear the cost of boarding and lodging for all the teams
So, how much money is the obstacle now for the national team to cancel a participation?
Hardly Rs. 7-8 lacs.(US$12 932 - 14 779).
The airfare for return ticket at the maximum is, Rs.25k (US$ 462) per person. Indian contingent with 18 players and 6 supporting staff would cost about 7-8 lacs (US$12 932 - 14 779).
Honestly speaking, the ticket cost is less.