Hockey

‘One of the finest ever to grace the game’

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Tributes poured in from players across generations for Mohd. Shahid who breathed his last on Wednesday.

Balbir Singh (Sr.) (Former captain and three-time Olympic gold medallist): He was a great player and also a great human being. He will be surely remembered as one of the greatest hockey player who played for India.

It is an irreparable loss and it is sad that great players are remembered only after have they have gone.I pray that God grants peace to his soul and strength to his family to endure the tough time

V. Baskaran (Olympic gold-medal winning skipper): If you look for comparisons across all sports, I would put Shahid in the same league as Lionel Messi. Simple, he played hockey at that level. Only three others in hockey matched him. They are Shahbaz Ahmed, Teun de Nooijer and Stephan Veen.

Dhanraj Pillay: (Former India captain): He was a magician on the field. There used to be times when he would single-handedly win games. All of us players from the 90s generation had tremendous respect for him.

I remember the last time I met him, it was at the Medanta Hospital. Despite his illness, he spoke to us as much as he could. He was a very loving person.

Mir Ranjan Negi (Former India goalkeeper): He destroyed defenders using trickery with the ball. If defenders could not read him, how can a goalkeeper? The running penalty stroke in use now leads to a one-to-one situation between the attacker and goalkeeper. Just visualising Shahid outwitting goalkeepers in strokes using close control and stick skills is a delightful thought. Special players liked him created unique situations in a match. Shahid had a shuffle, distinct from others, which took him past tackles.

Mukesh Kumar (Former India captain): It is a huge loss to the sport. He was one of the finest ever to grace the game. A true magician with the stick on the field.

Jude Felix (Former India captain): It’s very emotional for me. Each touch of his was simply magic. I have not seen anyone in India play like him. He respected me and I was overjoyed to be playing with him. I’m proud and humbled that I actually played in his position. It’s a sad day for Indian hockey. No way there can be another like him.

Allen Schofield (Former India goalkeeper): He was lightning fast; you couldn’t even see the turn of the stick,” he said. “I remember one of our coaches stopping a game and calling him aside. ‘Give me your stick,’ he said, just for fun. ‘I want to check if there is glue at the end’.

Bir Bahadur Chettri (former India goalkeeper): Mohammad Shahid was confidence personified and inspired the whole team. No matter how big was the match and how strong was the opponent, he never had any sign of nerves. I have not seen a better dribbler than him.

(with inputs from V.V.S. Subrahmanyam, Nandakumar Marar, K. Keerthivasan, Y.B. Sarangi, Shreedutta Chidananda and Tanay Apte)

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 12:10:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/%E2%80%98One-of-the-finest-ever-to-grace-the-game%E2%80%99/article14499615.ece

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