Hockey stalwart Dhanraj Pillay, on Thursday, blamed poor selection and lack of commitment from the players for the Indian team’s debacle in the London Olympics.

According to Pillay, the players should have played with a lot more responsibility. “It has never happened that we’ve had five consecutive losses. The players have to be blamed for this. If not 100 per cent, they should have given at least their 40-50 per cent in every match,” said Pillay during the ‘Cheer for Champions’ panel discussion.

Pillay said the players should not have made tall claims before going to the Olympics. He alleged some main players were not selected due to politics.

“The country is losing because of the fight between Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF),” he said.

The famed striker said it was high time the Union Sports Ministry took the final call. “The HI and IHF officials should be called together and a new federation should be formed. Hockey players should be included in the administration of the sport,” he said.

‘Tried our best’

Speaking about her journey at the London Olympics, badminton player Ashwini Ponappa said she and her doubles partner G. Jwala had given their best.

“Our first match was bad. But the second and third matches were good. Japan was supposed to beat Chinese Taipei. If that had happened, we would have become second (and qualified). Unfortunately, it was pre-decided. They (Japan) had the easier option of losing (to Chinese Taipei) so that they could meet China at a later stage,” said Ashwini.

Ashwini expressed her disapproval of the group format in the Olympics and expressed hoped that it would be rectified in future.

Former India cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar, prominent footballer I.M. Vijayan and cricketer Anjum Chopra stressed on the importance of crowd support for any sportsperson. “In the 1983 World Cup final, even after being bowled out for 183, we won because of crowd support. Lots of Indians based in England cheered us,” said Vengsarkar.

Anjum said crowd support was an “external motivation which helps when a player is a little down.”

Pillay said cheering spectators in the stands always enhanced the confidence of a player, while Ashwini recalled how she enjoyed performing before the home crowd during the 2010 CWG.

A survey report, TenVicks Report: Measuring India’s Cheer Quotient, was released on the occasion. According to the survey, 14 per cent sportspersons believed that Indian people stood by them even when they were losing as compared to 42 per cent in England and 36 per cent in Australia.

More In: Hockey | Sport