Claudius backs Pataudi,says hockey is dead

Tiger Pataudi set the cat among the pigeons. Today he got support from an unexpected quarter as the Indian hockey legend Leslie Claudius stood by him.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:January 10, 2009 2:56 am

Tiger Pataudi set the cat among the pigeons. Today he got support from an unexpected quarter as the Indian hockey legend Leslie Claudius stood by him.

“Cricket should be made the national game,” said the former India cricket captain the other day. Claudius feels that Pataudi is right on the money as hockey is now “all but dead”.

“Hockey has lost its popularity. Except for the seasonal tournaments like Beighton Cup,we didn’t get to see a hockey match. Hockey is particularly dead in Bengal,” said the three-time Olympic gold medalist

“In Bengal,three top clubs,Mohun Bagan,East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting have stopped playing hockey. In India,cricket and tennis are now the top two sports which are getting priority,” he added.

According to him,time has come to make cricket the national sport. “Indian team is playing brilliant cricket. We have so much of fan following. And we are producing fine players. It’s high time cricket is made the national game.”

The 88-year-old legend said that the Indian hockey has reached almost the point of no return. “It’s (the game) in pitiful state. There’s no exposure,nobody to nurture talent. No educational institution plays hockey. It will be a huge ask to revive the game from here. Right people are not in the right places.”

Claudius believes,India lost their elite status in world hockey the day they failed to qualify for the Olympics. “An honest effort is needed if we want to put up a decent show in the 2010 Commonwealth Games,” he concluded.

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