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Former captain Sardar Singh retires from international Hockey

Sardar Singh
Sardar Singh
In a dramatic move, former Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh on Wednesday announced his retirement from the sport.
 
Despite Sardar’s claim that he wanted  to leave the space for the youngsters, speculation is rife that the ace mid-fielder was told by the top officials of Hockey India that he has no place in their scheme of things and he better take the call.  
 
His assertion that he had decided to quit following the team's disappointing performance at the Jakarta Asian Games, where India failed to defend its title and returned with a bronze medal, is not convincing because only a couple of days ago he had gone to Mumbai along with other players to attend a function where the new jersey for Team India was unveiled.
 
In Jakarta, after India’s defeat, Sardar kept saying that he will be more focused and work hard to be ready for future competitions.
 
Even coach Harendra Singh is on record saying that no one individual was responsible for the disappointing show at Asian Games. ”It was a collective failure.”
 
According to the sources, after being told by the officials to take the call, Sardar Singh wanted to announce his decision in Delhi but even that chance was denied to him as HI released the list of 25 probables in which his name was not included, forcing him to announce his retirement to avoid further embarrassment. 
 
He did react to his omission from the list of probables saying would formally announce his retirement during a press conference in the national capital on Friday.
 
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While saying that he has quit the International hockey, Sardar was quoted as saying, “I have played enough hockey in my career. Twelve years is a long time. Now it’s time for the future generation to take over.
 
“I took the decision after consultation with my family in Chandigarh, Hockey India and my friends. I think it’s the right time to think about life beyond hockey," he said.
 
“Fitness is not the reason behind my decision. I am fit enough to play hockey for some more years. But there is always a time for everything and I feel it’s time for me to move on in life,” he said.
 
The ace mid-fielder made his senior debut for India against Pakistan in 2006 and since then he has been a important part of the national team.
 
 In Jakarta, talking to this reporter, Pakistan team manager and ace Olympian Hassan Sardar had lavished praise on Sardar, calling him a complete player "whose fan I am”.
 
The 32-year-old who figured in two Olympics, played 350 international matches and led the national team for eight long years from 2008 to 2016. He also has the distinction of being the youngest player to captain the team, when he led the side at the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
 
Sardar was dropped from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games squad but he was recalled into the national team for the Champions Trophy, where India won a silver medal.
 
He received the Arjuna award in 2012 and Padma Shri in 2015.
 
NNN
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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