New Delhi:Former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay has criticised the newly-formed Hockey India for joining hands with erstwhile IHF chief KPS Gill and said the recent development is disheartening for the future of the national sport.
Dhanraj, a member of the Hockey India selection committee, raised questions on Indian Olympic Association's decision to join hands with Gill on the formation of Hockey India, a unified body with men and women's associations under one roof.
He also criticised the IOA for appointing Spaniard Jose Brasa as the coach of the national team without consulting the selection committee members.
"We came to know through media whether it is the formation of Hockey India or the appointment of Jose Brasa.
I don't know whether our hockey is going in the right direction.
I don't know what were the reasons behind shaking hand with the same Gill saab whose Indian Hockey Federation regime was suspended by the same IOA," said Dhanraj, who has 339 international caps under his belt in his illustrious career spanning 16 years.
"We know only about selection matters. Whatever else is happening in Indian Hockey, we are unaware of it, but whatever is happening is disheartening," he said in an interview.
"I don't want that whatever happened with me, happens with the new players. There should be no infighting among the players and establishment," he added.
Dhanraj many a times vented his ire against Gill-led regime during his playing days. He had also lost his captaincy and place in the national team immediately after winning the gold medal in 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.
The mercurial forward once again reiterated his support for Indian coaches and said it makes no sense in roping in an overseas coach for the eight-time Olympic champions.
"There is no point in having a foreign coach when our coaches are doing well. Our team won the Azlan Shah Cup under then coach-in-charge Harendra Singh. We could not repeat the performance in Asia cup, but by that time there were rumours about the appointment of foreign coach. It might have affected the players negatively," said Dhanraj, who was the manager of the team during the Asia Cup in June, where the defending champion's finished a disappointing fifth.
On a more personal note, an emotional Dhanraj, who will be celebrating his 41st birthday on Thursday, said he is still waiting for a dignified farewell from international hockey.
"I am still waiting for that opportunity. It's not only me but great players like Zafar Iqbal, Pargat Singh, Surjit Singh and Ashok Kumar also could not announce retirement on their own. We deserved a chance to bid adieu," he said.
"I now assess the performance of the players sitting in the galleries as a selector. But I still feel like playing with them and I bet with a month's training I can play better than anyone else.
"After all, I have been playing in domestic circuit and in foreign league." said the veteran of four Olympics, who had last represented India five years back in the 2004 Busan Asian Games," he added.