Ex-Test stars call for inclusion of Pillai

Published: Thursday, May 6, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Former Indian cricket team captain Ajit Wadekar and former Test star Sandeep Patil on Thursday voiced their support to discarded hockey stars Dhanraj Pillay, Baljit Singh Saini and Baljit Singh Dhillon and called for their reinstatement in the 30 probables' list for Athens Olympics.

One of India's successful captains, Wadekar said in Mumbai that it was very sad that the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has kept out such talented hockey players like Pillay, Dhillon and Saini when the team is getting ready for its biggest test(Athens Olympics).

"Though I do not know Dhillon and Saini very well, I can openly say that Pillay has done wonders for Indian hockey and if he is 100 per cent fit, he should be given a chance to play as he is still the best playmaker in the team while the media reports speak very highly of the other two and they too should be called to the camp and watched closely", he added.

"Experience always counts in any sports and I think great injustice have been done to these three stars", Wadekar said.

One of the most attacking middle order batsman of the yesteryears, Patil, who is a very keen follower of hockey and a good friend of Pillay, said "IHF should take a leaf from our cricket team's performance in Pakistan as it was the experience of Sachin (Tendulkar), Rahul (Dravid) and Sourav (Ganguly) which helped India with the series".

"When I was coaching the Kenyan cricket team, I watched the Indian hockey team in action against Kenya and was proud to see all the three players perform magnificently but now I feel very sad to read how the same players are being treated by IHF", he added.

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