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Pillay determined to do justice as selector

Doha, May 25 (UNI) After battling seemingly insurmountable odds throughout his illustrous career, Indian hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay is determined to prevent a similar fate from befalling other players in his new avatar as selector.

''I'm sure I can do justice to this job. Everybody knows how passionately Dhanraj has played his hockey. All I can say is I won't allow injustice to happen to any player with potential,'' the mercurial striker was quoted as saying by 'Gulf Times'. ''There won't be a quota system and I will fight for the best player. I have been straight when I played hockey for India and I will continue to be that way.'' Speaking about the unceremonious exit of former Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) president KPS Gill, Pillay said,''I think Gill should have himself left gracefully but he didn't do that. We performed poorly in the World Cup, then we missed the Asian Games semis for the first time and the Olympics qualifiers failure was disheartening. After all this, he should have left respectably.

''The first two years of his tenure was good but after that he never allowed any freedom to the boys,'' he added. ''When I started talking he tried to silence me and I lost few years in the bargain.'' Sressing that talent has to spotted and developed early on, the 39-year-old was confident that India will eventually regain its lost glory in world hockey.

''Yes, we can, but it will take time. So many good players like Deepak Thakur, Gagan Ajit Singh, Viren Rasquinha, Vinod Pillai are already out in dejection after being repeatedly dropped. You will find talent in small towns. So we have to spot them early and give them maximum exposure,'' Pillay stated.

Praising the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) for doing its bit to develop the game in India, Pillay asserted that the world body must learn to think on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

''Yes FIH is trying hard as they are aware that Asia has huge commercial potential. But they have to think on the lines of the cricket IPL,'' he stressed.

''Like in the PHL, they had a fast 17 and half minutes each matches which was thrilling. You have to keep trying different things to popularise the game. Try to find ways to give commercial value to our sponsors. With Bollywood and cricket joining hands, I see pictures of movie stars displayed on sports pages lately.'' Pillay made his international debut during the 1989 Asia Cup.

He had a controversy-ridden career during which he vented his ire against the hockey management time and again .

He announced his retirement after the Athens Olympics in 2004.


Story first published: Sunday, May 25, 2008, 15:34 [IST]
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