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Baljit Singh Saini slams IHF

May 02, 2004 18:52 IST

Slamming the "experimentation" policy of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), veteran hockey player Baljit Singh Saini on Sunday questioned the rationale behind his exclusion from a pool of 30 Olympic hopefuls.

Saini, along with Dhanraj Pillay and Baljit Singh Dhillon, failed to make to the side for a four-nation meet in Japan as well as a fitness camp in Barog, and the player admitted that the "doors were closed on me" by the controversial decisions.

"It is too late to experiment with the team with the Olympics just a few months away. Had the experimentations been done last year, there would have been some justification," the 30-year-old full-back said.

"The experiments have not helped. Last year there was a feeling that the Indian team could beat anyone but that impression is fast fading away."

Reacting to IHF's explanation to the absence of the three stalwarts from the pool that they needed players who could withstand the pressure of playing tough games for the entire duration of the match, he said, "who said I can't play for 70 minutes. Just a few days back I played the full duration in some matches in Kolkata in a departmental tournament.

"I don't see any reason behind the decisions... I can't understand why I was not picked," Saini said.

But Saini, who has played in almost 300 matches in a career spanning over a decade, said he anticipated a decision on such lines and was not shocked to learn about it. 

"I am disappointed obviously, but not shocked. The developments in the last few days were enough to indicate that we three were on our way out.

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