While Cricket in India has been steadily growing and getting popularised both in the shorter version and longer version of the game, Hockey, the India’s National game has been steadily declining, thanks to the step-motherly treatment meted out by our government to our own hockey players.In the recently concluded qualifying rounds held in the south American country, Chile, our Hocky team presented an abysmal picture and it sank to rock bottom stage, the lowest ever position held by an Indian team.Our former hockey team captain Danraj Pillay,comments upon it as the black day of Indian Hockey.The Indian Hockey team was squarley beaten in the qualifying matches even by the unfancied teams like England.The net result was India failed to qualify and it cannot participate in the Olympic games of 2008 to be held in China.
It is pathetic that Indian Hockey once considered a powerful force in the International arena, became a spent force and could not even qualify as a team to participate in the Olympic games.
Many Officials of Indian Hockey Federation resigned immediately when India failed to qualify.But the Chairman of the Indian Hockey Federation M.S.Gill, refused to buckle under pressure and stated that he would not resign and also assured that he would sit and discuss with the Indian team to find out what went wrong with them. M.S.Gill’s obstinance and his refusal to quit received wide spread criticism, especially from our politicians. Mr.Gurudass Gupta, CPI MP was most vociferous to the extent that the fellows who are in charge of IHF should be thrown out or kicked out.
The reasons for the failure of our hockey team should be traced to the grass root level.First of all, the step motherly treatment meted out to Hockey, in terms of pay and perks offerred to players,poor infrastructure fecilities and accomodation extended to them.Cricket becoming increasingly popular at the rural and at the metros,due to the lucrative offers available to the cricket players.While BCCI is the most powerful economic body in the world, IHF is just an administrative body almost bereft of resources.While ICC an international body is controlling all cricket boards and constantly strive for promoting cricket to even to nonplaying countries, no such support is available for hockey and comparing with cricket, our Hockey is a less profile game with less profile players.No doubt our Hockey team reached rock bottom and cricket scaled its acme.