A day after being left out of the probables' list for the elite Champions Trophy hockey tournament, Deepak Thakur and Devesh Chauhan are left wondering why the axe fell on them, but the Indian Hockey Federation made it clear that selection was purely based on performance.
Veteran goalkeeper Chauhan said he has no clue why he was not picked among the 56 for the six-nation meet, starting in Chennai on December 10.
"I have no idea at all. Nobody has told me why I missed the bus and I would like to know what lies for me in the future," Chauhan said on Wednesday.
"Though the team didn't do well at the eight-nation Rabo[bank] tournament in Holland, my individual performance was good. In the Shastri tournament I didn't get a chance to play. So, I am surprised at my omission," the goalkeeper added.
Chauhan revealed that for a while he had even thought of saying goodbye to the sport.
"Just for a moment I had the thought of calling it quits. But, to be honest, I have not yet decided what to do," he said.
Himachal forward Thakur, who was out of action for some time because of injury problems and also missed the Shastri tournament, however, restrained himself from showing his annoyance.
"Nobody has told me the reason for my omission; neither did I try to know it from anybody. But I can't think what could be the cause for me being left out," Thakur said, while stating that he is fit and had already submitted his fitness certificate to the IHF.
For a change, the Indian Hockey Federation was clear about the selections, with secretary K Jothikumaran saying it was based on performance.
"The selectors picked the probables on the basis of their performance in the Azlan Shah, Rabobank Junior World Cup and Shastri tournaments," Jothikumaran said.
Asked whether this was the end of the road for players like Thakur and Chauhan, Jothikumaran refrained from giving a direct reply.
"As of now, this is the list of probables for the Champions Trophy. Selection of these players in future depends upon the selectors," he quipped.
The first phase of the camp of will at Hyderabad, from October 19 to November 10.
Six players -- Dilip Tirkey, Sandeep Singh, V S Vinay, Nitin Kumar, Gagan Ajit Singh and V Raja are playing abroad and will join the camp after the completion of the leagues.
Four others -- P.R. Sreejesh, Vikramjeet Singh, Bruno Hardian and Gurvinder Singh Chandi -- will also be delayed in joining the camp as they will be playing in the under-18 Asia Cup at Rourkela from November 20 to 27.
Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (Karnataka), P R Sreejesh (Kerala), Adrian D'Souza (Indian Airlines) and Gurpreet Singh (Air India).
Full-backs: Kanwalpreet Singh (Punjab Police), Dilip Tirkey (Indian Airlines), William Xalxo (AI), Sandeep Singh (IA), Harpal Singh (Namdhari), Muthu Selvan (Tamil Nadu), Kuldeep Singh (AI) and Ajmer Singh (Namdhari).
Half-backs: V S Vinaya (IA), Vikram Pillay (IA), Viren Rasquinha (Indian Oil Corp), Ignace Tirkey (Services), Bimal Lakra (IA), Davinder Pal Singh (Punjab & Sind Bank), Prabodh Tirkey (IA), Prabhdeep Singh (BPCL), Nitin Kumar (IOC), Senthil Kumar (TN), Jaswinder Singh (IOC), Sunil Ekka (Services), Vivek Gupta (ONGC), Vikramjeet Singh (P&SB), D. Mahadik (Karnataka) and Gurbaj Singh (IA).
Forwards: Arjun Halappa (IA), Prabhjot Singh (IOC), Ravi Pal (P&SB), Tushar Khandkar (BPCL), Hari Prasad (Customs), Gurtejpreet Singh (P&SB), Bruno Hardian (AI), Gurvinder Singh Chandi (AI), Adam Sinclair (TN), Rajpal Singh (IOC), Gagan Ajit Singh (PP), Birender Lakra (IA), V. Raja (TN), Didar Singh (Namdhari), Inderjeet Singh Chadha (IOC), Chittranjan Singh (Manipur), Suresh Kumar (Services) and Vijay Alphonse (Bombay/Western Railway).
Support staff: Rajinder Singh (coach Punjab and Sind Bank ), Harendra Singh (coach Indian Airlines), Sampath Kumar (physical trainer - Services), Saju Joseph (physical trainer) and Ravi Kanakamedala (physiotherapist).