Former India hockey captain Sardar Singh decides to call it a day

Sardar Singh made his senior debut for India against Pakistan in 2006

(File) Sardar Singh | Getty Images

Ever since defending champions India ended up with the bronze in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, all eyes were on Sardar Singh. Having been in and out of the team, the former India hockey captain was expected to take a call on his career.

Sardar Singh, today, finally announced his retirement from international hockey, thus drawing curtains on a 12-year largely glittering career. A bronze finish in the Asian Games means India won't have the luxury of direct qualification to the 2020 Olympics. And so, the veteran player feels it is time to make way for some young blood.

“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,” Sardar Singh said.

“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.”

Though he had expressed desire to play in the Olympics, Sardar Singh's exclusion from the 25-member group for the national camp announced today might have hastened his decision. The 32-year-old midfielder was earlier dropped from the team for the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, only to be recalled during the Asian Games.

Sardar Singh made his senior debut for India against Pakistan in 2006, and went on to make over 350 international appearances for India and captained the national team between 2008 and 2016.

He was also the youngest player to captain the Indian team when he led the side at the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He was given the Arjuna award in 2012 and Padma Shri in 2015. He has also represented India twice at the Olympics.