Central Secretariat and Indian Army players in action on Monday | d sampathkumar
CHENNAI : Indians migrating to western countries for a better life is nothing new. But a bunch of Punjab & Sind Bank players are leaving for Canada for the unlikeliest of reasons — to play hockey. Over the last decade, more than 20 players have left clerical jobs at PSB to play hockey in Canada. Jaskaran Singh, who is playing for PSB in the MCC Murugappa Gold Cup, played two tournaments in the country. His opportunities came via senior PSB players, who had shifted to Canada.
The tournaments held there are held only over the weekends. This means that they can work elsewhere for the rest of the week and earn additional income. Jaskaran played trial matches in 2016 and his scintillating show caught the eye of United Brothers officials.
“I was able to make a decent amount of money there. Senior players who have played foreign tournaments suggested that I relocate to Canada. In 2016, I took part in the selection trials and the sponsors liked my performance. Since then, I go abroad during the off-season.” Asked about his long-term plans, the 21-year-old said: “If I get an opportunity to play for India, I will stay here. Otherwise, I will go to Canada to play hockey there. But my coach is asking me to stay in India and try make it here.”
PSB coach Rajinder Singh is worried that if the experienced players relocate to Canada, his team will be short of options. “We only have eight bank players in our team and we roped in the remaining from colleges,” Rajinder said.
PSB has won Surjit Hockey Tournament 17 times, the Nehru Cup five times and have been national champs three times. Yet here, they are struggling. “This is the condition of the team when good players move to other countries. But I don’t ask players to stay back when they get better offers. I have seen about 15 players leave their clerical jobs to pursue their dreams abroad.”Results: ONGC 4-3 Indian Railways; Indian Army 3-2 Central Secretariat.