Former India hockey captain Sardar Singh on 12 September 2018 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. Sardar said he made the decision after a disappointing Asian Games where India failed to defend their title and had to settle for a bronze medal, leaving them out of the reckoning for direct qualification to the 2020 Olympic Games. With age and speed not on his side, Sardar’s performance in the Games came under scrutiny.
Yes, I have decided to retire from international hockey. I have played enough hockey in my career. Twelve years is a long time. Now it’s time for the future generation to take over. Interestingly, during the Asian Games in Jakarta, Sardar had said he hoped to play till the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
However, he had a change of heart amid speculation that he was forced to retire after his name was dropped from the 25-strong core group of national campers announced by Hockey India on 12 September 2018. Sardar, 32, made his senior debut for India against Pakistan in 2006 and since then he has been a vital cog in the Indian team’s midfield.
He made over 350 international appearances for India and captained the national team for eight years, from 2008 to 2016, before handing the responsibility to PR Sreejesh. After being dropped from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games squad, Sardar worked hard on his fitness to fight back into the national team for the Champions Trophy, where India won a silver medal.