Sardar Singh calls it a day

Experienced midfielder and former India captain Sardar Singh, on Tuesday, decided to retire from the game saying it was time for the next generation to take Indian hockey ahead.

  • Published 13.09.18
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 Sardar Singh

New Delhi: Experienced midfielder and former India captain Sardar Singh, on Tuesday, decided to retire from the game saying it was time for the next generation to take Indian hockey ahead.

The 32-year-old hung up his boots on a day when Hockey India (HI) dropped him from the list of probables for the World Cup but Sardar said his decision was not influenced by the national body’s selection policy.

“I had been thinking about it for the past few months. The urge to quit got stronger after the Asian Games. I spoke to my family members and friends and then took the decision… 12 years with the national team was a long time. In fact, I had already conveyed my decision to Harendra Singh (national coach),” Sardar told The Telegraph.

“That we could not win the gold medal in Asian Games remains a big regret. We should have won in Jakarta and qualified for the Olympics,” he added.

While Sardar vehemently denied that not being in the 25-member probable was the actual reason for his sudden decision to call it a day, there were enough indications he was quietly spoken to by authorities in the HI.

Former World Cup winner Ashok Kumar felt Sardar could have delayed the decision. “I feel he was still needed in the team for the World Cup on home turf.  A few days ago, there was a function for the World Cup in Mumbai and I believe Sardar was handed over the team jersey. I don’t know what exactly went wrong from there,” said Kumar.  

But not everyone agrees with the legendary striker. Aslam Sher Khan, another member of the 1975 World Cup winning squad, said Sardar’s decision should have come earlier.

Sardar made over 350 international appearances and captained the national team  from 2008 to 2016 before handing the responsibility to PR Sreejesh.

Sardar was also the youngest player to captain the India at the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He received the Arjuna Award in 2012 and the Padma Shri in 2015. Last year, he was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

“I am fit to play hockey for at least couple of more years. But there is always a right time. And I feel this is the best time to start thinking about new ventures,” Sardar said.

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