Sardara Singh has led the Indian Hockey team with great dignity. Today, he will step out and lead the Indian contingent as the flag bearer for India at the opening of Asian Games 2014. But the journey has been a long one. Here’s a brief overview…
The bare statistics reveal a 28 year old individual with 191 Caps and 13 International Goals. But one may suggest that statistics do not reveal the real picture so here is the real picture of India’s hockey captain.
Sardara Singh grew up in modest circumstances. His mother tried to convince him to leave hockey as the cost for hockey shoes was prohibitively expensive but better sense prevailed and timely help arrived. It was the benevolent gesture of the family’s guru, Jagjit Singh that helped get Sardara Singh admitted to a hockey academy in Ludhiana.
At the age of 17, Sardara made it to the Indian junior team for a tour to Poland. But it was not a smooth ride for someone who seems effortlessly efficient on the field these days. However Sardara almost quit during his junior years.
In 2005, on a tour of Pakistan with the Indian Junior team, Saradara was unexpectedly asked to play up front, a position which was completely new to him. During the entire match, Sardara didn’t get a single touch at all. He thought that this game was too difficult for him and wanted to settle down instead. Then by a stroke of fortune, Sardara was called up in the senior side in 2006 and this became a watershed moment in his life. Sardara began to work harder on and off the turf, and his efforts bore fruit when he made his debut for the senior team against Pakistan in 2006.
Meteoric Rise Through the International Ranks
Sardara has been part of all the major tournaments that India played since then. His first prime achievement came in 2007 when India won the gold medal at the Asia Cup in Chennai. In 2008, he was appointed as the captain of the Indian hockey team for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at the young age of 22 years. India finished 2nd in the tournament to bag the silver medal. Ever since, Sardara has played a pivotal role for India. In 2010, Sardara Singh was nominated for the FIH All Star team, the sole Indian to get the honour. A feat that was repeated again by Sardara Singh in 2012.
Sardara recently led India to a silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow and based on his interviews he seems to be confident about his team’s preparations for the upcoming Asian Games.
The Sardara Story – Aside From Statistics
Sardara is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders the game has ever seen. However it is not his impressive statistics but the following two traits that depict his true capabilities.
Back in 2006 , when Sardara was called to the Senior Camp , he was considered a bit slow by his coaches. Sardara worked hard and diligently on his own to overcome each weakness. In a famous quote, Sardara mentioned, “Everyone is his own coach because nobody can tell you what your weaknesses are, only you know”. The dedication and commitment he has shown towards the game of hockey is highly commendable.
Sardara is also known to be the first to enter the pitch and the last to leave. His famous reverse pass technique has been perfected by putting in extra hours on the practise pitch , such that he can unerringly find a fellow player anywhere on the pitch
The Indian flag and the fortunes of the Indian hockey team are in good hands starting tomorrow.
Follow all the heroics of Sardara Singh and his boys on Sports Rediscovered.