Kumble jumps to Pillay~~s defence

Published: Friday, May 7, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:Virtually slamming move to exclude Dhanraj Pillay from the Athens Olympics bound Indian Hockey team, ace leg spinner Anil Kumble on Friday jumped to the defence of the veteran striker and vouched for his return.

"It's surprising that someone like him is made to undergo the kind of ritual with the Association (Indian Hockey Federation)", Kumble said at a function in Bangalore, expressing solidarity with Pillay.

"Every sport requires a star; Dhanraj is the star of Indian Hockey", the 84-Test veteran said. "It (Pillay's exclusion) can be sorted out for the benefit of Indian Hockey and sports in general".

Emphasising the importance of stars in promotion of any game, the 33-year-old bowler said it was because of players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid that youngsters get attracted to Cricket and follow them.

He also sought to bat for other sports also. While Cricketers enjoy attention, affection and love of millions of Indian, it's important to recognise, identify and support other sportsmen also, he felt.

Kumble, who inaugurated an exhibition on health, strongly suggested including sports in the school curriculum carrying marks like any other subject rather than the present system of treating it as extracurricular activity.

Making sports compulsory at school level itself would go a long way in promoting it in right spirit, and force children to look at sports seriously, Kumble advocated.

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