After including drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh in the squad for the FIH World League Round 2 and the Azlan Shah Cup,Hockey India seems to have further softened its stand against the World Series Hockey (WSH) players.
The governing body has called up nine players,including Gurjinder,who took part in the WSH for the 44-strong preparatory camp for the Junior World Cup,which will be held in New Delhi in December this year.
The camp will be held in Bangalore from April 1 to 23 under the supervision of chief coach Baljit Singh Saini. Apart from Gurjinder,other WSH players included in the camp are Ramandeep Singh,Harjot Singh,Amir Khan (all Chandigarh Comets),Devendra Walmiki (Mumbai Marines),Lalit Upadhyay,Affan Yousuf and Armaan Qureshi (all Bhopal Badshahs). All players had written an apology to HI and had given an undertaking that they would not take part in any unsanctioned event in the future. They have returned to national fold after a cooling off period of one year.
These players have been performing well for quite some time now. They played well in WSH and have been consistent performers in other domestic tournaments since, a source said. We need a larger pool of players for the Junior World Cup. The Hockey India League did not provide too many exciting young players.
Meanwhile uncertainty over the future of WSH has deepened. A majority of its players havent been paid their dues. And with more and more players aligning themselves with HI,WSHs pool has diminished considerably. With regard to the second season of WSH,an official from Nimbus,the organisers of the tournament along with the Indian Hockey Federation,said: A final call will be taken after the International Hockey Federation decides which (HI or IHF) is the governing body in the country.
FIHs stand,however,has been clear. During the HIL last month,Leandro Negre,FIHs chief,had said: IHF is (Indian hockeys) past,while HI is the future.