The Autobiography of Aslam Sher Khan
By Matin Khan, Allied Publishers, 1982
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Juvenile Hockey Officials
Gurbaksh had the ability of being persuasive enough to sell combs to the bald.
A few years ago, Gurbaksh had convinced the IHF to appoint two captains instead of one.
Gurbaksh was made joint captain of the 1968 Olympic team along with Prithipal. The great Prithi had agreed only because he was more interested in hockey than in himself.
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he Montreal Olympic Games held in July 1976 was the end of India's hockey supremacy. The shameful performance in Montreal drained Indian hockey not only of the will to win, but even the desire to play.
India's misfortunes in 1976 began with Govinda breaking his collar bone in Paris, where the Indian team was on a month-long training and conditioning session. The only other note about our stay in France was that the coach, on one occasion, led the boys to see blue films at Lille.
Before we left for Montreal, coach Gurbaksh Singh asked all the players to pool the extra hockey sticks we had brought with us. He told us that when sold together, the hockey sticks would fetch a better return.
Selling hockey sticks abroad was not something new. It was often used by players to earn a little more foreign exchange for shopping.
I was against the pooling of hockey sticks as I knew that they would fetch a better price in the Olympic Village. However, I contributed two of my hockey sticks to the team's kitty to keep Gurbaksh in good humour, lest he drop me from the playing team.
The fear of Gurbaksh not playing me was accentuated by the fact that the manager of the team, Raghubir Singh Bhola, was a puppet in Gurbaksh's hands.
A day before the India-Australia match, wing-half Mohinder lampooned the juvenile interests of our hockey officials. "You know, Aslam," he said. "Our coach and physical instructor have just won the gold medal in badge collecting. I saw them collect as many badges as there are participating countries."
Gurbaksh had the ability of being persuasive enough to sell combs to the bald. A few years ago, Gurbaksh had convinced the Indian Hockey Federation to appoint two captains instead of one for the national team. Gurbaksh was made joint captain of the 1968 Olympic team, along with Prithipal Singh.
The concept of joint captaincy was ridiculed by all. The great Prithi agreed to this arrangement only because he was more interested in hockey than in himself.
Gurbaksh Singh, shown here with V. Bhaskaran