March 14, 2008

Gill Killed The Hockey Star

Is it just me or you noticed it as well?

Why is KPS Gill turning out to be the Pervez Musharraf of Indian Hockey?

In the aftermath of the 'death' of Indian hockey, how many times does the poor sport have to die to ensure people resuscitate it, Mr. Gill, like the General, refuses to quit or even owe up. Mirroring the neighboring General, Mr. Gill gave it right back to the press in a couple of interviews that he graced the channels with. He agreed that things are bad and he was ready for the team to fail (surprise, surprise!) but just like the General is under the impression that things aren’t that bad. Like Musharraf he wants to clean this mess or rather his mess, and then leave.

When he took over the reins of the national sport, many believed that Mr. Gill’s no nonsense and hands-on approach would do the game a great favor. Now almost 14 years after he’s been in the saddle things remain as dismal as ever; at least the team never failed to qualify. What’s surprising is that ‘zameendar’ kind of approach that the former supercop seems to have adopted to run the Indian Hockey Federation. He won’t quit and won’t accept the failed coach Joaquim Carvalho’s resignation. He didn’t really milk the mercurial Dhanraj Pillay while the center forward was still going great guns and now won’t allow the popular Ric Charlesworth to take over. He is already eyeing the commonwealth games (at least India doesn’t have to qualify for that!) and more over the world championships. He is n now looking at 2012 Olympics to salvage the national pride.

Many years ago while shooting something in a studio I bumped in KPS Gill. Mushroomed by SPG guards, who looked more menacing than the Devil himself, Mr. Gill was going to the other floor for a scheduled interview. Being in awe of him and the reputation that precedes him wherever he went, I decided to say hello. I waded my way through the curious onlookers and was about to offer my hand when he flashed his Dirty Harryesque look. That did it. He might have said something and I’m certain he tried to smile but I skedaddled out of there like a bat out of hell!

Hockey just might end up reviving itself but it’s an uphill task. The sooner we start the better for a good plan today might be better than a perfect plan tomorrow. There are many problems, the biggest one being that we don’t have as many astro turfs. This revival thing is a costly affair and now with petroleum becoming expensive it will just get tougher. How is hockey connected to raising petrol prices you ask…well, astro turf is a product of petroleum. And you thought Gill was the problem? At least Pakistan had elections!

Mr. Gill might have given many a terror mongers sleepless nights but his Sheriff like attitude in tandem with a monarch type functioning of the Federation isn’t really going to do anything. Maybe Senor Gill is desirous of quitting but we can’t seem to hear it words that escape his lips are so busy heaving a sigh of relief that they forget to convey the message!

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