They are killing hockey

After Sher-e-Jalandhar goalkeeper Kamaldeep Singh set a poor example by chasing the umpire in the deciding match of the Premier Hockey League finals, the Orissa Steelers goalkeeper Salman Akbar (in pic) of Pakistan expressed his concern over the state of the game in Punjab. Shocked by the manner in which the Punjab players behaved, he said: "The Sher-e-Jalandhar team, I don't know what they think of themselves. It was sad that there was no action taken when a player got slapped during the match by another player who had been given such a good farewell earlier.''

Akbar was referring to Prabodh Tirkey of Orissa Steelers, who was slapped by Baljit Singh Dhillon during the first final.

Dhillon had announced his retirement before that match, and the two teams honoured the Olympian by making him walk under an arch of hockey sticks. "Maybe, the umpires did not notice the incident, but I am surprised how the authorities running the game are keeping quiet about such indiscipline. Why is there no punishment for such blatant behaviour? I have heard so many stories about the Punjab players in domestic hockey, and they do it so boldly. I understand that the umpires are scared of them. What message do these players give to the youngsters? They are killing hockey,'' Akbar said.

For once, the authorities looked to have swung into action quite decisively, but time would alone tell as to how serious they are about restoring discipline in the Punjab ranks.