Former India hockey captain Sardar Singh, on Wednesday, decided to call time on his illustrious career, saying he had played enough in the last 12 years and now it’s time for the youngsters to take over.
The 32-year-old has made over 350 international appearances for India and captained the national team for eight long years from 2008 to 2016. Former India defender and Olympian V. R. Raghunath felt that Sardar must have been thinking about retirement for the past few months now.
READ| Sardar Singh retires from international hockey
"It has been a tough time for him and also it could be because of the Asian Games bronze. When you feel your body and mind cannot give a hundred per cent, I think it is the best time to announce retirement and give way for the next generation," Raghunath remarked.
"I think he could have played till the World Cup and then announced his retirement. We have played together since 2003 and played together for 14 years and enjoyed a lot of success. I wish him the best," he added.
Former India captain, V. Baskaran, concurred. “I think he has taken the right decision. Sumit (Kumar) is the right man to replace him as he is already in the core group and has played alongside Sardar. For me, he is the best player since Ajit Pal Singh," Baskaran noted.
However, Olympian Rahul Singh said that the announcement had not come at the right time. "The World Cup is just around the corner and it is always better to have a senior player like him in the team. He could have been used in short bursts. He has served the country in an excellent way and has achieved everything. There is a big hole in the midfield now," he said.