If you’re 30+, you’re past it, over the hill, or simply put, too old.
Ageism hit Indian hockey players in the form of an arbitrary ruling from Hockey India (HI) preventing dribblers and keepers past 30 from participating in the Hockey India League (HIL).
Adrian D’souza, Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh find themselves out in the cold without a blanket to keep them warm.
The rule is discriminatory. Foreign players have no such restrictions.
The IPL has no such problems accommodating retired cricketers and on the wrong side of 40. Look at Pravin Tambe.
You can argue that hockey is a different game where fitness is of paramount significance.
Then fitness tests should be made the criteria, not a number that informs clubs what your birth year is.
Dhanraj Pillay turned out for India till the age of 36.
Four Olympics, World Cups,Champions Trophy and Asian Games figure against his name. He still plays hockey at the club level for Karnataka Lions.
Does he have nothing to say?
Dhanraj Pillay, Air India coach, slammed Hockey India for its perverse logic saying:
“I request Narinder Batra to reconsider the decision. Players like Adrian D’Souza, Arjun Halappa, Prabodh Tirkey have left a deep impact on hockey and they are still as capable as they were a few years back. If foreigners who are above the age of 30 can be accommodated, I am sure Indians can as well.
These players have given invaluable services to the sport. Even today in places like Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh, they are a household name. I don’t understand the logic. If we can have foreign players who are much older in the auctions, then why not Indians? Someone like Adrian is still going so well, and deserves to be part of the league purely on form and merit. I request Narinder Batra (HI President) to look into the matter and treat Indians the same way.”