The Indian men’s hockey team booking the 2012 Olympic ticket to London is indeed an occasion to cherish and celebrate. After all, they have qualified for the Games after eight years, during which a lot of unsavoury incidents have taken place in Indian hockey and the standard of the game, barring a few sparks like the one witnessed in Delhi on Sunday night, has been consistently going downhill.But the victory is a golden opportunity for officials of the two warring factions – the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI) – to put a yummy icing on the cake of Olympic qualification by making a symbolic bonfire of their inflated egos and coming together in the interests of the nation.IHF and HI officials have shaken hands in past, but only to go back on their word, with all that is left of their rapprochement being photos of the bosses of the rival bodies clutching each other in a tight embrace. Sadly, the warmth shown was fake and meant only for the cameras; the intent was missing.Now, with the International Hockey Federation (FIH)- supervised talks between the IHF and HI failing again, the mandarins of the two bodies should be wary of the punitive action that the FIH or the Court of Arbitration for Sport – the highest Lausanne-based global body that settles disputes – might take against them.Although the FIH bosses have said that they would soon be back in Delhi to try and bring the warring factions to the table once again, Sunday’s win is an opportunity for both the IHF and HI to surprise the world body by sinking their differences before its officials return. This would be the fittest tribute to pay to the sportsmen who did the country proud against France on Sunday night.advertisementHere’s a suggestion for the warring officials: they can take their elephantine egos to the India Gate lawns, aptly situated opposite the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium and make a symbolic ‘bonfire’ in full public view. Such a public display would ensure that they don’t go back on their word, as in the past.The amount of goodwill that the HI has earned by ensuring an almost glitch-free qualifying tournament would count for nothing if there’s more than one apex governing body and players are not mentally relaxed to give their best on the field.We have seen in the past how players feel uneasy while playing for one or the other national championships, unsure of how the rival body would react to their aligning with the other side.It’s time to remove such misgivings from players’ minds. Unlike administrators, their career is short; there’s also not much money to be earned in hockey; Perhaps most importantly, players often find themselves at the mercy of officials who generally have no playing experience, leave alone having been a part of the national team.Money is vital for players too and they should not be singled out if they want to earn through the game. We have seen many a sporting great of this country live and die in penury, going as far as having to sell their cherished medals or trophies to make two ends meet and sustain their families. So, let’s not be cavalier about the economic needs of the hockey players.If players feel they can earn good money by playing in the supposedly unauthorised World Series Hockey (WSH), starting on Wednesday, they can’t really be faulted. WSH is offering good money in a short time span and when the players are not engaged with the national team or with preparatory camps, there’s no harm in their taking part in such a tournament.Don’t Indian cricketers go to England in summer to play in the county championships? If cricketers can be allowed to supplement their income in this manner, why have a different yardstick for poor hockey players?===Why is Srikkanth keeping mum?Srikkanth (right): He must come clean on the issue.Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s sudden initiative to begin preparations for the World Cup in 2015 came as a shocker. In no sport in India, leave alone cricket, do preparations start three years before an event. So, it was surprising to see Dhoni, who has hinted that he may not play the 2015 World Cup to be held in Australia-New Zealand, suddenly wake up and enforce a rotation policy as part of his blue print to retain the World Cup.It was all the more surprising because he had often said at press conferences that a rotation policy can’t be implemented for the Indian team. So what was the real reason for initiating the policy that led to a huge controversy? Well, several interpretations have been put forward but given the stout silence on BCCI’s part only Dhoni seems to know the answer.advertisementChairman of selectors K Srikkanth, who loves to talk non-stop, has also been quiet for a change. He owes an explanation to cricket fans on what led to the public spat between Dhoni and his vice-captain Sehwag. In the absence of a convincing explanation from the authorities, speculation is bound to continue and the media can hardly be blamed for this.===Aspirant coaches left in the lurchCoaches continue to get the rough end of the stick. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has not recruited coaches since 1992. So, when 100 posts were advertised for recently, it came as welcome news. But the 1,150-odd National Institute of Sports degree holders who applied were in for a shock.Last week, many of them turned up in Delhi to appear for interviews, spending their own money on travel and food. What they got instead was a terse message from officials. “The interviews for appointment of Grade-III coaches in SAI, scheduled to be held on February 21 and 22 at Delhi, February 23 and 24 at Bhopal and March 5 and 6 at Patiala have been postponed due to unavoidable circumstances,” they were told. “Next course of action will be intimated in due course of time.”The official reason given was interesting. SAI secretary Gopal Krishna said it was felt that the selection procedure should be made more comprehensive. “It has been decided that we will also conduct a written test besides the interview,” Krishna told Mail Today. However, he couldn’t explain why the mandarins got the bright idea only after the aspirants had landed in Delhi. Sources say the postponement order came from the sports ministry.===Modi goes after JoshiFormer IPL chairman Lalit Modi.Due to India’s abysmal performance in Australia, recent developments within the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) got overlooked. Representing the next stage of the constant churning that goes on in RCA, its suspended secretary Sanjay Dixit and former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, also a former RCA president, have joined hands to fight the RCA faction headed by association president CP Joshi.One of the latest charges against Joshi, also a Union minister, is that he wants to shift the RCA office from Jaipur to Udaipur. “He says that he wants to correct a historic wrong by taking the RCA office to Udaipur,” said an insider.