Veteran Indian center half Sardar Singh retired from International hockey on 12th September 2018, ending a milestone career which spanned over 12 years. The Haryana lad featured in 314 Internationals for India and was a pillar of strength when the Indian hockey was on its very low in the starting of 2011.
The 33-year-old became the youngest Indian captain to lead the team in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup(Malaysia) in 2008. Singh’s magical stick work in the midfield often made him the go to man for the Indian team and following his great performance, he was awarded a place in FIH all star team in 2010 and 2011. The former India International was signed by iconic Dutch club HC Bloemendaal in place of Dutch legend Teun De Nooijer.
It was during Sardar’s time that Indian team tried to regain the past glory and 2014 Asian games was one example of it, when his team won the gold medal, competing against Pakistan in penalty shootout. He was dropped from captaincy before 2016 Rio Olympics, when goalkeeper PR Sreejesh took the reigns of the team. He continued to play for the national team but the sun sets for every great player and it also happened with Sardar Singh, who was dropped from the team on several occasions and young turks were preferred over him. He realized that his time has come which prompted him to retire last year, making way for some young guns like Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad in the team.
Sardar Singh may return back to coach the junior Indian team
Indian team will defend their junior world cup title in 2021 and getting an experienced stalwart like Sardar Singh to coach the team can work as an elixir. According to sources close to Hockey India, there has been a talk between Sardar Singh and top officials in this regard.
If all goes well, Sardar Singh is expected to assume responsibility in the new year. Hockey India removed Jude Felix as coach in June due to the team’s poor performance. The post has been lying vacant since then and now Sardar is the best option to fill the post. Harendra Singh, who coached the 2016 winning Indian team led by Harjeet Singh, demand for equal pay like the foreign coaches, which has not worked with hockey India.