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Kabaddi fans were left in shock today morning after realising that two living legends, Anup Kumar and Manjeet Chhillar were dropped from the Indian national team ahead of their preparations for the Asian Games which is set to take place in Jakarta, Indonesia.
A total of 42 players have been called for the camp in Haryana but Anup and Manjeet did not make the cut. The selectors have called upon the services of several young players while the experienced campaigners have been largely ignored.
Current captain of the Indian national team, Ajay Thakur spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda about the Federation’s decision to drop Anup and Manjeet. He isn’t surprised by their choice whatsoever. He also suggested that it is natural for older players to give way to the younger lot.
“This is not even a question about them not being in the squad. This is the rule of nature. Everybody takes someone’s place. The federation has selected the players they like, the fit players,” he said.
“Tomorrow even we will move out of the team, and younger players will replace us. Look at Sachin Tendulkar. Is he in the (cricket) team now? Whoever plays has to leave at some point. Maybe they (the federation) felt that they (Anup and Manjeet) have played a lot and we need new kids in the team. Life works like this,” he explains.
Asked if Anup and Manjeet have retired from the national side, Ajay refused to comment on it, stating that he is not aware of it and hasn’t been in touch with either of them. He also pointed to the fact that the competition for places in the Indian side is intense.
“I do know not, I have not spoken to them. Look at Pardeep Narwal, how can anyone replace him now? And even Sachin from Gujarat FortuneGiants,” he said.
Asked if he will once again captain the side at the upcoming Asian Games, which will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia, Ajay said, “That is not in my control, I don’t know who will captain the side.”
U Mumbai coach, Bhaskaran Edachery, also spoke to Sportskeeda and suggested that it’s time to move on and focus on the new generation of players who he feels are an extremely talented bunch.
Bhaskaran also revealed that Jaipur Pink Panthers captain, Manjeet was injured recently and has not been in prime form, which could possibly explain his exclusion.
“How long can the older players play? The younger guys are playing better than the old generation. Look at Pardeep Narwal, Rahul Chaudhari and Ajay Thakur. Manjeet has always been a top player, but he suffered from a slight injury recently and has not been in form.”
Asked if Anup and Manjeet have retired from the game, the veteran coach replied in the negative, stating that it’s too soon for them to hang up their boots. Anup will turn 35 this year in November while Manjeet will turn 32 in August.
“No, they haven’t retired. They will continue to play, this is not the time for them to retire. Only the in form players are part of the national team. Only India’s top players will make the cut, nobody’s name is reserved in the national team,” Bhaskaran signed off.