Pune:The standoff between the crisis surrounding India's national sport, hockey, continues as the national team went back on strike and Hockey India officials went into a huddle to try and find a resolution.
Hockey India officials will be travelling to Pune on Tuesday to begin another round of talks with the players who now apparently have 24 hours to consider their position. The players though have made it clear - if you sack one you sack all 22 of us.
Hockey captain Rajpal Singh with not much to do in Pune as the national team is on strike for the second time in four days. Hockey India's attempts at reconciliation clearly weren't acceptable to the team, but President AK Mattoo says he's now running out of ideas.
"We are open to talks but not to blackmail. If they don't want to play I can't do anything. I will then consider myself a failure. Disciplinary action can be taken on the last day also. But I don't want to do that, because that will set another precedent.", said Mattoo.
So, they wielded threat of maybe even a ban. But the team responded by saying they are united and that any such action will have to apply to all 22 members of the squad.
"The meeting will happen in front of all the players. Only when we talk to the officials we will know which proposal is agreed to. All players will also have to agree to the final decision," said Hockey player, Prabhjot Singh.
All the players are asking for is 25,000 rupees per player promised to them at the time of this tournament, the Champions Challenge in Argentina where India incidentally finished with a bronze.
Former Captain Pargat Singh commented, "When they've already worked out a settlement, then the matter should be resolved through dialogue."
The players make valid demand but suspect timing given that the World Cup is just six weeks away. The hockey fraternity is rooting for the team, but also hoping this doesn't boomerang in their faces.