THUMBING his nose at the mighty establishment that runs Indian hockey, former India captain Viren Rasquinah announced his retirement from international hockey today. Does anything shock in hockey anymore? Please don’t ask this question to “RESPECTED” selectors – Surinder Singh Sodhi, Harmik Singh, Ajit Pal Singh and Gurbux Singh. They have been after Viren’s head for quite some time now. Viren is one of the many player who has become the victims of politics continuing in IHF. Rasquinha was named captain of the Maratha Warriors at the just-concluded Premier Hockey League (PHL) but wasn’t even considered in the 29 probables for the national side for a 10-day camp in Bangalore. Arjun Halappa, player of the tournament in the fourth edition of the PHL, wasn’t considered too. The signal is clear. The team management doesn’t want seniors in the side.
Viren Rasquinha is one of those few, who lived that dream of playing Indian Hockey Team and made a great mark on International Arena. He has cited personal reasons for his retirement. He i snow joining International School of Business, Hyderabad for pursuing MBA. “I really do want to give my MBA a serious shot. And since hockey exhausts a lot of time and energy, it wouldn’t be possible to continue both simultaneously. That’s why I have decided to call it quits from international hockey,” the midfielder said.
Rasquinha, made his international debut in May 2002 at a four-nation tournament in Adelaide. He rapidly emerged as one of India’s top midfielders and also captained the team briefly. Rasquinha represented India at the 2004 Athens Olympics and the World Cup in 2006; he was part of the team that won the junior World Cup in 2001 and honoured with the Arjuna award for the year 2005.
Viren is an epitome of the new age Indian sportsman, a person who combines academic excellence with sporting brilliance, no wonder that the influential TIMES OF INDIA called him a “a role model for the young. He once said that “We have to learn to be a ruthless team. When the opposition is down, we have to finish them. No mercy. There has been an attitude change in the Indian team. We want to beat the opposition, we are not happy with a draw anymore. Today, other teams are looking at this Indian team with a lot of respect and fear”. This attitude of Viren made him the poster boy of Indian Hockey. His retirement has come as a blow for India’s chances in Olympics later this year. He should have been on the plane to Doha and also to Beijing. For those who have conspired to sack him, the blood on their hands will not be wiped so easily. Whatever be the reason for his retirement personal or professional i wish him all the success for his future endeavours.