Six Indian players pull out of WSH after HI threat

New Delhi: The multi-million dollar World Series Hockey received a big jolt even before the ball started rolling as top six Indian players, including Sandeep Singh and Sardara Singh, have withdrawn from the league to be held across different cities of the country from December 17.

Sandeep, Sardara along with goalkeepers Bharat Chetri, PR Sreejesh, forwards Tushar Khandker and Yuvraj Walmiki gave a written undertaking to Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra yesterday, stating that their commitment towards national team is above everything else. The six players will now join the national camp in Delhi for the Olympic qualifiers scheduled between December 11 and February 12, 2012.

"We are not playing in the World Series Hockey (WSH) event and that we will be attending the national camp in Delhi for the Olympic qualifiers on December 11, 2011 until February 2012. We will be available for selection in the national team for the Olympic qualifiers," stated the letter which was duly signed by all six players and issued as a media release by HI.

"We signed the contract with World Series Hockey under the impression that WSH will not force us to play and ask us to leave for the national camp," added the players, who are presently playing the Champions Challenge-I tournament in South Africa.

"We play for our country and that is a matter of honour and pride for us." The players, however, did not completely rule out their participation in the league and have requested the WSH organisers to postpone the event. "We appeal to World Series Hockey to postpone their tournament after the qualifiers in the national interest," they said in the letter. It must be recalled that all these players have taken advance from the organisers.