Having missed the London Olympic Games where India ended up 12th and last, former captain Arjun Halappa feels that deserving youngsters playing for rival World Series Hockey should be picked for the country by Hockey India, which is currently selecting the national squad.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has decided not to ban the eight players, including former captains Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi, for playing in the rebel World Series Hockey (WSH) in India. Instead, heavy fines would be slapped on them so that they would be eligible for selection in Pakistan`s squad for London Olympics.
Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken, who was here to watch the final of the World Series Hockey, on Monday gave a thumbs-up to the tournament and called it the best- ever sporting event to be organised in India.
The multi-million dollar World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament could provide a much-needed boost to the sport in the country and make the national side a force to reckon with in the future, feels Pakistan hockey legend Shahbaz Ahmed.
He is disappointed not to get the opportunity to rub shoulders with his Indian counterparts in the ongoing World Series Hockey, but star Pakistan player Shakeel Abbasi on Saturday said that he risked his international career to play in the lucrative league since he wanted to pay respect to his commitment towards the organizers.
Chandigarh Comets are expected to hold a slight edge over Pune Strykers when the two teams clash in the second semifinal of the USD 2 million World Series Hockey tournament, at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium on Sunday.
To accommodate the home advantage factor for at least one of the qualifiers, the organisers of the Bridgestone World Series Hockey have rearranged the venues of the two semi-finals, to be held on Sunday.