New Delhi: Former India players Prabhjot Singh and Gagan Ajit Singh on Wednesday said the standoff between HI and IHF was not helping the cause of the players and the sport and HI should not have barred the probables, named for the national camp, to play in the WSH.
"Hockey India should not have imposed any restriction on the national players to participate in the World Series Hockey. The tussle between the two federations should come to an end as it`s the players who are suffering because of it," said Prabhjot.
"Whatever the problem between the federations, it should not affect the players," said Gagan.
Prabhot said had top current Indian stars were allowed to feature in the WSH, the game could have become more popular.
"WSH is all about promoting the game and it`s the players who have to take steps to promote hockey through such initiatives. It`s the biggest hockey event happening in the world where best international players are participating. It`s helping the players financially.
"If you look at the Indian Premier League, the players were allowed to participate in the event resulting in its massive popularity. If national players are allowed to participate in the WSH, I am sure that one day it would be able to match the popularity of the IPL," said Prabhjot, who was part of the team that finished seventh in the last Olympic Games that India took part at Athens in 2004.
Prabhjot has linked-up with former Junior World Cup winning teammates Deepak Thakur and Gagan Ajit for Sher-E-Punjab in the ongoing World Series Hockey and is here to play in the away-match against Delhi Wizards on Friday.
The Athens Olympian was of the view that even in the absence of the national players, the tournament received good crowd support.
"Barring some venues, people are coming to watch the action live. The series is going on well and we are getting good public support. The matches have become exciting and good crowd response is there," said Sher-E-Punjab skipper.
Comparing WSH` to Premier Hockey League, which was discontinued after a three-year presence, Prabhjot said that the current tournament was bigger and better.
Prabhjot said there was a difference between the coaching styles of Australian Michael Nobbs, the current national coach, and his predecessor, Spaniard Jose Brasa.
"Brasa taught us both attacking and defensive hockey. During his tenure, we were scoring more goals and conceding less. Nobbs is guiding the team to play total attacking hockey and that`s why our defence is making some mistakes while Brasa tried for a balance between attack and defence. In my opinion, Brasa was the best coach," he said.
Prabhjot said, if given a chance, he still have enough energy left in him to play for the national side.
"I am ready to return and play for the country. I am fit and ready to be part of the Indian hockey," said the 30-year-old.
Prabhjot was happy that emerging star Yuvraj Walmiki, who has taken over his place in the national side, is playing some excellent hockey.
"He is a young player who has scored some good field goals in the recent time. His stick work is good and he has speed. What he lacks is experience and need to work on his fitness level."
Two-time Olympian Gagan said, although he is happy that India qualified for the London Olympics after defeating France 8-1, it`s time to introspect and correct the shortcomings.
"I am happy that India has qualified for the Olympics but it`s not the new thing for us. We have been always there... part of the Olympics but unfortunately we missed it in 2008. Now that we have qualified we need to strengthen our deep defence and group tackling," said the 31-year-old Gagan.