Since Rajpal Singh does not enjoy the support of his team-mates, he should be replaced by the more popular Prabhjot Singh as the captain of the Indian hockey team for the forthcoming World Cup, Olympian Vasudevan Bhaskaran said on Wednesday.
The former national coach and captain of the Moscow Olympic gold medal-winning team said if Prabhjot indeed had the support of 14 of his team-mates for the captain's job, Hockey India should name him skipper of the side.
"If it is true that 14 players are in favour of Prabhjot, Hockey India should immediately name him the captain and convince Rajpal Singh at the same time," Bhaskaran said.
"If the federation fails to name Prabhjot as captain, it will aggravate the situation when India play the World Cup," he said.
"I am sure Rajpal will not get the required support from his 15 other mates, who might say now that they will give their hundred per cent. What is the guarantee that they will?
Instead, Hockey India should convince Rajpal before naming Prabhjot as captain," Bhaskaran said.
Saddened by the overall controversy, Bhaskaran said, "Indian Hockey is getting dirtier by the day and the whole world is laughing at the present atmosphere in the team, which has about 20 days to prepare for the World Cup."
He felt HI should have consulted chief coach Jose Brasa before naming Rajpal as the captain.
Bhaskaran also criticised HI for asking Brasa and the players to concentrate on World Cup preparation and not get involved in the captaincy issue.
"What Hockey India had done is unethical. Merely saying that Rajpal will be the captain and the players should concentrate on the game and the coaches should do their job is utterly wrong," he said.
"The captaincy row is unwarranted. The team is split over the issue and it would surely surface during the World Cup. In order to avoid such scenario, Prabhjot should be made captain," Bhaskaran said.