'After Asian Games, I was thinking of continuing till the 2020 Olympics. I was very fit, one of the fittest in the team but then I decided to quit.'
Former India hockey captain Sardar Singh claimed that former coach Sjoerd Marijne and current high performance director David John forced him to make a shock retirement in September.
The veteran singled out an incident which took place last year during India's triumphant campaign in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, where he was called to John's room in the presence of Marijne.
"I was called to his (David John's) room just before the match against Pakistan in Asia Cup. The coach (Marijne) was also there. He (John) said I committed mistakes and I was playing a lot of individual game. Just before an important match I was called to tell this. You could imagine how I was feeling, he could have told me later," the star mid-fielder said on Saturday.
After the Asian Games, Sardar was not named among the probables for the Asian Champions Trophy in Oman, forcing him to think about his future.
"I was dropped from important tournaments, the World Hockey League and Commonwealth Games. I thought I will be brought back, I was sent with a junior team in Malaysia. I slowly began questioning myself what is going on. After Asian Games, I was thinking of continuing till the 2020 Olympics. I was very fit, one of the fittest in the team but then I decided to quit (after being dropped again)," he said.
Sardar also said that he was not told the reasons each time he was left out.
"There was a lot of change of players. It is all right if you change 2-3 players but you are making so many changes before important tournaments. Moreover, you have to tell the reasons to the players. Sadly, it was not done."
He mentioned an instance during the national camp in Bengaluru where the team list was pasted on the rooms' walls.
"The news of the team selection was told at the breakfast. We were told that the team list was pasted in front of rooms and those who are in should proceed to the field and those who are not will be told the reasons later. My name was not there, I did not go for team practice."
Asked about the sexual harassment case against him, Sardar said, "I am not going to speak much on this as the case is going on. Two cases in Punjab have gone in my favour. It may be a case of jealously. But this case did not impact me much mentally or in my performance."
He said he hopes to keep himself fit to continue playing in European clubs for the next two years and ruled out coaching in the foreseeable future.