Indispensable Indian Hockey Team member Sardar Singh has decided to call time on his international career.
Sardar Singh called to hang up his boots from international hockey on Wednesday. He expressed his desire to let the youngsters take charge in the national colours.
He reportedly took his decision after a disappointing Indian Asian Games campaign, that saw the Men in Blue fail to defend their title and had to settle for a Bronze medal. The result also means India’s chances of automatically qualifying for the Olympic Games are all but gone. Sardar Singh’s performance in the same came heavily under scrutiny.
“Yes, I have decided to retire from international hockey. 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,” Sardar told PTI.
“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.”
The 32-year old Sardar had previously stated during the Asian Games that he wished to play one last Olympic in 2020. He had a change of heart after he was left out of the 25-strong core group of national campers. The former Indian captain evaded the question on whether he was forced to drop and added that he will be officially announcing his retirement in a press conference on Friday.
Sardar made his debut against Pakistan in 2006 and has since made over 350 appearances for India. He has led the Indian team from 2008 to 2016 and holds the record for being the youngest captain to win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2008.
Sardar was dropped from the Indian squad for the Commonwealth Games squad earlier this year. He then worked hard to regain fitness and make a comeback to the Champions Trophy squad. He won a silver medal with India in the same, losing to Australia.
However he claimed fitness is not the reason for his decision.
“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 added that he has already notified national coach Harendra Singh of his wish. He will continue to play hockey in the domestic circuit.
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