The senior hockey team’s drag flick expert Jugraj Singh has been asked to take charge of the junior squad,with goalkeeping coach AB Subbaiah replacing him. Miffed by what he calls an unceremonious exit,Jugraj said that Hockey India hasn’t quite acknowledged his contribution in the team’s qualification for the London Games.
Penalty corners is the only department where the team can claim to have made real progress and produced results. Sandeep Singh,VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh have all improved under me and so it hurts to be sent packing after the Olympic qualifiers, he said.
Interestingly,Jugraj wasn’t even invited for Hockey India organised felicitation ceremony for players and coaching staff after Olympic qualification and thus didnt get the cash awards distributed there. Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra,however,said there was never any plan to include non-official staff in the rewards scheme. The reward from Hotel Lalit was only for the players and the coaching staff. Formally,Jugraj was not part of the staff. However,we had decided to reward everyone associated during the training and got him the cash award from Sahara,so I don’t know what the problem is.
Asked about his removal,Batra said the decision was taken after talking to the players. The players who train under him and the team management including the coaches felt that he had nothing more to teach them. They felt he would be more useful working with the juniors,who are still learning. He agreed to go but then insisted on an air ticket,which we can’t give since only senior national team is entitled to that.
Meanwhile,Batra also said all the players would shift to Pune in the next 7-10 days. The turf at SAI Centre,Bangalore is not very good. The ministry has agreed to the shift, he said.