Indian players can look to HI as parent body - Mukesh Kumar

The move by the international body (FIH) to recognise Hockey India should put to an end to the conflict of interest and lend credibility to the sport in India now, says triple Olympian Nandnuri Mukesh Kumar, in an exclusive interview.

'Now, the players across the country can look to HI as the parent body and plan accordingly': Nandnuri Mukesh Kumar   -  V.V.Subrahmanyam

Triple Olympian and one of the finest right-wingers hockey has ever produced, Nandnuri Mukesh Kumar, feels that the move by the international body (FIH) to recognise Hockey India should put to an end to the conflict of interest and lend credibility to the sport in India now.

“This is a very good development in the context of Indian hockey. And, in a way, a recognition of some of the genuine efforts the HI has been making by way of bringing professionalism into the sport,” the 45-year-old Mukesh said in an exclusive interview.

“For long, there was uncertainty in the hockey circles with two parallel bodies trying to govern the sport leading to avoidable confusion amongst the players,” Mukesh pointed out. “Now, the players across the country can look to HI as the parent body and plan accordingly,” he pointed out.

“It is an undeniable fact that HI has induced the commercial element into the sport so much so that even the best of the junior players are now earning about Rs 60 lakhs per annum if they are proving their mettle,” Mukesh said. “This in comparison to the days of the early edition of Premier Hockey League when the coach and the junior players used to get far less than what the big players were getting. This is a major step in the right direction by the HI – treating the players on par,” he said.

“Any national Federation is judged by the performance of the national team and HI has done a terrific job so far with Indian men’s and women’s teams qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics,” says Mukesh.

“However, lot has to be done with regard to promoting the sub-juniors category. It is good to host all those mega international events but again it is high time we focus at least for the next four years. It is imperative to have the reserve bench full of talent to take over the mantle,” remarked the ace right-winger of yesteryears who scored 80 goals in 307 internationals. “You have to spend atleast 20 per cent of your budget on sub-juniors by scouting talent and grooming it into champion material,” he added.

With his daughter, Yashaswini, making her mark in the sub-junior badminton, Mukesh, who has been the Secretary of Hockey Hyderabad for some time before giving up that post, has decided to confine himself to an advisory role. “She is in the crucial phase of her career and I want to focus on her badminton for the next two years,” signs off Mukesh.