Bhubaneswar, December 3: PR Sreejesh may be excused by Hockey India after the India hockey goalkeeper played in a celebrity charity football match featuring Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and others when he was still recuperating from a serious injury.
Sreejesh took part in the 'Celebrity Clasico' in October this year in Mumbai, which also featured some of the country's top Bollywood stars. Sreejesh has been sidelined from the national team after suffering an injury in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in May this year.
There were reports that Sreejesh's action didn't go down well with the team management, but he might just get away as Hockey India is yet to initiate any disciplinary action against him. "Yes, it came to our notice, but we didn't initiate any disciplinary action as yet. We are currently busy with the Hockey World League Final and no disciplinary meeting has been called," Hockey India CEO Elena Norman, who is also a member of the disciplinary committee, said.
Sreejesh, it turns out, did not take Hockey India's permission to play the match. "Sreejesh didn't ask Hockey India before playing in the match. We don't have anything on record," Norman said. "He might have taken permission from his coaches, physio or the high performance director," she added.
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High performance director David John, however, said he was not approached by Sreejesh. "I was not asked. During that period, I was not in India. I was with the team in Dhaka for the Asia Cup," John said.
In May this year, Sreejesh had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia and has been out of the team since then.
India is desperately hoping for Sreejesh to recover soon especially with a busy 2018 lined up. But Sreejesh's action is in serious breach of Hockey India's Code of Conduct and he faces the risk of a four-month suspension. "Sreejesh is a role model for young hockey players and his actions will leave an impact on them. Even though I don't know whose permission he took to play in the match just when he was recovering an injury, I feel he should have avoided it thinking about his own and nation's cause," a disciplinary committee member said. "Having said that, he never had any disciplinary issues in the past, so I feel he will escape with a warning. India need Sreejesh's services."
When contacted, Sreejesh refused to comment on the issue.