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Aslam Sher promises transparency in selection

April 29, 2008 14:49 IST

Aslam Sher Khan, who heads the Indian Olympic Association-appointed five-member selection committee following the dissolution of the Indian Hockey Federation, says he wants the national hockey team to be a united and powerful force as depicted in the Bollywood film Chak de India.

"We have to make a Team India as you have seen in Bollywood blockbuster Chak de India. There are players from several parts of the country. We have to unite them to make a powerful force," he said.

Khan, a former national player and selector, who resigned after differences with the IHF administration on selection matters, said he has his plans and an altogether different approach.

"Earlier there used to be a bunch of 50-60 players and teams were selected as if they are playing musical chairs. There have been instances where a player was selected for an international event despite not having played even in domestic hockey. This will not happen now and we will select the team after several rounds of trials," he said.

He also said players like Gagan Ajit Singh, Len Aiyappa, Arjun Halappa, Dilip and Prabodh Tirky, who were sidelined during K P S Gill's term, will be reconsidered for selection.

The former Olympian said transparency and professionalism in the selection process is his priority.

"For the first time in history, former players are involved in Indian hockey administration. We will try to bring back its old glory. Our first priority will be to make the administration accountable and to bring transparency in team selection process," Khan said.

The selection panel, led by Khan, includes former Olympians Zafar Iqbal, Ashok Kumar, Ajitpal Singh and Dhanraj Pillay. It was formed after Gill's 15-year tenure as IHF chief came to an unceremonious end when the IOA sacked him by suspending the IHF and appointing an ad-hoc committee in its place.

The "unanimous" decision to suspend the IHF was taken following a sting operation which caught secretary K Jothikumaran purportedly accepting a bribe to select a player in the national team.

About his plans to uplift the morale of players, Khan said it will automatically be high after the end of Gill's regime.

"Now they will not have any insecurity. Otherwise, they never knew who is going to be the next target of Gillsaab, who ruined the careers of several talented players," he said.

He said efforts will be made to revive the sport in its old strongholds, like Sansarpur, Jalandhar, Bhopal, Lucknow and Chennai.

"We don't have any competition with cricket. We will try to popularise hockey through better performance at the international level. It's also necessary to host international tournaments," he said, when asked whether he is going to follow the BCCI path to promote hockey.

He also indicated that the Indian hockey team will now play less international events overseas.

"It is not necessary to play each and every tournament. It hurts when we loose. We will now select tournaments and prepare for that accordingly."

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