Tough to make return: Raghu

Tough to make return: Raghu

Tough to make return: Raghu

From being one of the first names on the scoresheet not too long ago, experienced drag-flicker VR Raghunath now plys his trade in domestic competitions finding no space in the Indian National hockey side.

In March, 33 players were a part of a core group that began a National camp at SAI in Bengaluru but Raghunath was surprisingly omitted from the list giving rise to rumours of a rift between him and coach Roelant Oltmans.  

But the 28-year-old insists that it was a personal choice he made to give himself a break adding that it will be really hard to make a return to the side in the foreseeable future.

“I wanted a break so I opted out of the squad. It was a personal decision. There were absolutely no issues I faced from Hockey India or the coach. I felt it was the right time for me to step aside and allow the younger players to bloom.

“Obviously going by the current situation I don’t think I will make it back to the team. They are doing really well and planning a tranformation before the World Cup. I’m glad that I was a part of it for this long,” said Raghunath.

Ruling out any retirement plans, the Arjuna awardee said that he was enjoying his hockey at the moment and that he still had a few years left in him.

“Not at all! I’m not announcing anything as yet. When the time is right, I’ll take a call on it. But I’d definitely keep my association with the sport in some capacity, probably start coaching fulltime.

“At present, I’m happy playing in the domestic leagues like the HIL (Hockey India League) and representing my company (IOCL) at various tournaments.

“I definitely have at least three to four good years of hockey left in me so I’m going to utilise that in national as well as foreign leagues,” he said adding that there were offers to to play for clubs in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.

Raghunath has also been sharing his experience with the younger players, coaching them at the hockey stadium, DYES and SAI with a motive of giving back to game that he says has served him well for so many years.

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