Dropped from India's scheme of things for Azlan Shah Cup, senior forwards Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur today claimed they have been made scapegoats for the team's poor show in the recent World Cup.
"Hockey is all about team work and if the whole team has fared badly in the World Cup, then why the selectors have made us the scapegoat? They should have changed the whole team," a fuming Prabhjot said.
"I came to know about the news from media only. We were asked by coach Jose Brasa to be prepared for the coaching camp and then we got this treatment. I will wait for Brasa to return from vacation and explain things to us," Prabhjot added.
Ajitpal Singh, a government observer who attended the selection meeting, said the list has been prepared keeping in mind the recent performance of the players.
"There is no place for players who don't believe in team spirit," he said.
"We have prepared the list keeping in mind every aspect. Deepak hasn't played in the last phase of the World Cup. He was totally out of touch and in bad form. Prabhjot also failed to perform as per the level expected from him," Ajitpal said.
Thakur, however, alleged that his and Prabhjot's axing was because of their participation in then players' strike before the World Cup.
"I knew it all along. This is something related to our strike before the World Cup as we were among the most vocal ones," he said.
"The coach told us to stay prepared for the camp. This decision has been taken in his absence. We are waiting for his return. We will clarify the things from him that why we were not included for the camp," Thakur added.
Coach Brasa is likely to return to India on April 6 or 7 from vacation.