Continuing its game of hide and seek with the media, the Indian Hockey Federation cancelled its plans to introduce newly-appointed chief coach Rajinder Singh (Jr) though it released a list of 35 probables for the Azlan Shah Cup, scheduled to be held in Malaysia next month.
A press conference to introduce the chief coach and his deputy, Narinder Pal Singh, was scheduled for Thursday afternoon but was cancelled at the last minute, with IHF, in a statement, claiming it was postponed due to "unavoidable reasons".
Sources in the federation said the conference was postponed because IHF president K P S Gill had "important appointments" in the afternoon.
"The fresh dates would be intimated to all very shortly," the statement added.
The federation is yet to formally announce the names of the coaches for the seven-nation event, to be held in Kuala Lumpur from May 26 to June 5, though the newly-appointed personnel have already taken up duties, turning up at the camp at the National stadium.
The camp was to begin on Wednesday, but did not commence as almost all the players failed to report in time. On Thursday morning, only 15 of the 35 players were present.
Chief coach Rajinder Singh, keen to prove his mettle at the highest level, was at the stadium in the afternoon waiting for the other 20 probables.
Rajinder was in no mood to talk to the media, apparently apprehensive of a backlash from the federation, which has barred the players as well as coaches from giving interviews.
After days of waiting, the IHF, meanwhile, released the list of 35 probables for the Malaysia tournament, with Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur back in reckoning since being left in the cold after the Athens Olympics.
Gagan Ajit Singh, another player dropped after the Olympics, was not considered as he is serving a three-month ban for being involved in a brawl with an opposition player during the Senior Nationals in Hyderabad recently.
Goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza, who had an impressive Olympics, and penalty-corner expert Sandeep Singh do not figure in the list since the two are part of the ongoing camp at Hyderabad for the junior World Cup.
The camp for the Azlan Shah Cup will continue till May 24. The captain and squad will be named before the camp ends.
According to the IHF, the probables were picked during the nationals in consultation with the selectors.
But one of the selectors, former Olympian Aslam Sher Khan said he hasn't seen the names.
"I have not got any letter. I was in the United States for the last three months. But I have not seen the probables list since returning earlier this month," Khan said.
The probables: Devesh Chauhan, Bharath Chetri, Mahinder Singh, D. Aravind, Paramjit Singh, Dilip Tirkey, Harpal Singh, Len Aiyappa, Muthuselvan, C.S. Xalxo, Vikram Pillay, Ignace Tirkey, Viren Rasquinha, Thomson Ekka, Avtar Singh, Muthu Kumar, Devender Pal Singh, Bimal Lakra, Jasvinder Singh, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh, Arjun Halappa, Sandeep Michael, Inderjeet Chadda, Girish Pimpale, Elezer Lakra, Gurjeet Singh, Rajpal Singh, Ravinder Singh, Gurvinder Singh, Sameer Dad, Didar Singh, Shailender Singh, Suresh Kumar and Prabhakar Singh.
Coaches: Rajinder Singh Jr (chief coach), Narinder Pal Singh (assistant coach), Romeo James (goal-keepers' coach).
Trainer: Sampath Kumar.