Halappa to lead India in Azlan Shah; Sandeep, Sardara ignored
New Delhi: Veteran forward Arjun Halappa has been appointed captain of the Indian team for next month`s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Malaysia even as drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and Sardara Singh failed to find a place in the list of 45 probables.
The 30-year-old Halappa will replace Rajpal Singh, who led India in last year`s World Cup, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.
"The selectors have decided to name Arjun Halappa as the captain of the Indian team for the Azlan Shah Cup. Arjun is a senior player and commands the respect of his team-mates," Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra told reporters.
On the conclusion of the first phase of the training camp at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here, HI conducted the selection trials on April 4 and 5 to shortlist the probables for the championship to be played from May 5 to 15 at Ipoh.
The HI secretary general also said that Sandeep and Sardara were ignored for the tournament as they failed to report for the national camp that started on March 15 because they were busy playing in the Belgium League.
"They (Sandeep and Sardara) were not considered because they did not report to the national camp. Before leaving for Belgium, they just informed us in telephone but did not give anything in writing," Batra said.
"But still we expected them to come in time for the camp which they didn`t. It calls for disciplinary action against them," he added.
The national federation was also upset with the duo as they did not take NOC from it before taking up the foreign assignment.
The HI has also formed a three-member disciplinary committee under Pargat Singh to investigate into the matter.
Apart from Pargat, the other members of the disciplinary committee includes government observer Harbinder Singh and member of Hi coaching and development committee R K Srivastava.
HI selectors Col Balbir Singh, B P Govinda, Syed Ali, Thoiba Singh and A B Subbaiah besides government observers Harbinder and Dilip Tirkey selected the 45 probables for the Azlan Shah Cup.
The final trials to choose the 18-member team for the tournament will be held on April 18-19.
India have won the prestigious tournament five times earlier. They were declared joint winners with South Korea last year when the final was abandoned due to rain.
The seven-nation tournament will feature world champions Australia, Great Britain, South Korea, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and hosts Malaysia.
India will play their first match against South Korea on the opening day.