Former Indian hockey skipper Sardar Singh has decided to call time on his illustrious career after he announced his retirement on Wednesday. Sardar Singh's decision comes on the back of the Indian hockey team's failure to defend its title at the recently concluded Asian Games in Jakarta.
Sardar Singh will leave behind a rich legacy in the sport of having represented India at two Olympics. The lad from Haryana is the recipient of the Arjuna award in 2012 and Padma Shri in 2015.
The veteran player who was once considered a vital cog of the Indian hockey setup, has recently seen a dip in his performances because of his rising age. The 32-year, who has 350 appearances for the national team to his name, insists that his decision to call it quits was to enable the younger generation an opportunity to push up the ranks.
“Yes, I have decided to retire from international hockey. I have played enough hockey in my career. 12 years is a long time. Now it’s time for the future generation to take over,” Sardar told PTI.
“I took the decision after consultation with my family in Chandigarh, Hockey India, and my friends. I think it’s the right time to think about life beyond hockey,” he added.
Sardar Singh made his senior debut for India against Pakistan in 2006 and since then he has gone earn a reputation as one of the best Indian midfielders to have graced the game. Singh had captained the national team for eight long years from 2008 to 2016 before handing over the responsibility to P.R. Sreejesh.
The most notable achievement of his career will be leading the national team at the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, when he also became the youngest player to captain the Indian hockey team.
Sardar Singh will be always be remembered for his warrior-like attitude, especially when he made a stunning comeback after being dropped from the Indian squad to participate at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. He worked hard on his fitness to roar back into the national team for the Champions Trophy, where India secured the silver medal after suffering a penalty shootout heartbreak in the final.
With age not on his side, the midfielder slowed down considerably during recent years. But for his contributions to Indian hockey, Sardar Singh will always be regarded as one of the greatest ambassadors for the sport.