ibnlive » Sports

Sep 26, 2007 at 07:15pm IST

Largesse for Men in Blue, hockey players see red

New Delhi: It's raining rewards for the cricketers, but the Indian hockey team is not amused one bit. Chief Coach of the Indian hockey team Joaquim Carvalho says the team members will go on a hunger strike in protest against the 'step-motherly treatment' meted out to them.

The hysteria of the Indian team's grand homecoming also brought in to sharp focus the contrast between cricket and the national game.

Coach Joaquim Carvalho guided his team to the Asia Cup hockey title in Chennai on September 9.

He says that four players will go on a hunger strike in front of the Karnataka CM's house. They will protest the Rs five-lakh cash award announced for cricketers from Karnataka who were part of the Twenty20 World Cup team.

No such award was announced for the hockey team after they won the Asia Cup. However, of the four players mentioned by Carvalho, only SV Sunil is in India as the rest are playing in the German league.

"I am fully for the cricketers getting whatever monetary rewards or cash rewards that may have been announced. I gongratulate Dhoni and his boys for winning the Twenty20 World Cup. They deserved the win. But what is upsetting is by the announcements being made by the various state governments recognising the win by the cricketers. But why was the same recognition not given to the hockey players when they won the Asia Cup? Where were the same state governments?" a visibly upset Carvalho said on Wednesday.

Carvalho strongly objected to the announcement of cash awards by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and the state governments of Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Delhi and Karnataka to the cricketers, while ignoring the Asia Cup victory.

"If the hockey team wins or if there is a world champion in billiards, there is a world champion in snooker, world champion in tennis—why aren't these chief ministers coming forward and felicitating these players and making announcements? I think there are a couple of double standards over here and a little political game that is going on over here," former India hockey goalkeeper and Asian Games gold medallist Ashish Ballal says.

The Hockey squad had recently won the Asia Cup in Chennai, thrashing Korea 7-2 in the final.