Not Robin Uthappa, there is a new Kid on the Block and he goes by the name Uthappa SK. The 20 year old SAI player was adjudged the best player in the Senior Nationals that concluded recently.
A B Subbaiah’s dream team reachead the finals of the Senior National after a long haitus. The Last time Karnataka played in the finals was in 1969. Karantaka lost to Haryana in the finals for 2 – 1, but with bagging the best player award and V R Raghunath another Coorg lad being the top scorer in the tournament, the stars are shinning well. Amar Aiyamma was the captain. Bharat Chetri proved that he is one of the top goal keepers in the Country.
Whether Uthappa will make it to the national side is anyone’s wildest guess, i would say. V R Raghunath is trying to get back to the team but the call never seems to come from the National side. The only Coorg lad in the team is Arjun Halappa.
Hockey buff’s will know very well how the 2 time top scorer in PHL, Lehnn Aiyyapa( Len Aiyappa ) was treated by the National Selectors. Len got so pissed with the treatment that he vowed never to play for India again.
Dhanaraj Pillai in 2007 was also miffed with Len’s exclusion. He had said at that time;
Why haven’t the IHF included Len Aiyappa. He is the best drag-flicker available in the county at the moment. They didn’t even bother to call him for the camp despite his exploits in the last three PHL tournaments.
To that the then IHF Secretary K Jothikumaran said “that since all the three drag flickers, Sandeep Singh, Didar Singh and Raghunath, have performed well in the PHL, there was no point in having one more drag flicker in the side.”
It was no secret that Len hated Jothikumaran to the core. And “What a relief” it was for Len when Jothikumaran was caught red-handed and kicked out of IHF. With Jyoti gone for good, Len hoped to play for India again, the call never came.
But even today Len is everywhere in the domestic circuit and still scoring hat-tricks and still winning for his team. He has been quite positive and his love for the game keeps him going.
The last time I found him online, he was imparting drag flick lessons to the Italians. 🙂
For that matter even Amar Aiyamma has been ignored by the National Selectors. Unlike Cricket, in Indian Hockey there is no statistics maintained about games and individual player and thus it makes it quite easy for the selectors to pick and choose whomsoever they want in the national side without worrying much about the scrutiny from others.
Uthappa is young and he has a long way to go. My advice is – just love hockey, play well. Forget whether you get into the national side or not. Whether you stay there for long or not. Enjoy the game kid.