Ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and star midfielder Sardara Singh were handed a lifeline after Hockey India on Wednesday decided to lift the two-year ban imposed on them for indiscipline, saying the two players were being given "a last chance" to make amends for their mistakes.
HI executive director Anupam Ghulati said the decision to revoke the ban was taken after the two players "expressed unconditional regret" for their indiscipinary acts before the Appeals Committee.
"Sandeep and Sardara appeared before the Appeals Committee today and expressed their unconditional regret. So keeping in view their age, performance and future potential the committee decided to revoke the ban," Ghulati told PTI.
"But both the players have given in writting that if they are again found guilty of any misconduct in future the two-year ban can be re-imposed on them," he said.
Both Sandeep and Sardara were banned for two years by HI's disciplinary committee for repeatedly indulging in indiciplinary acts after they quit midway the national camp in Bangalore last month ahead of the Asian Champions Trophy, citing personal reasons.
The two players appealed against the ban last week after HI gave them 30 days' time to do so.
The HI official added that now with the ban revoked, both Sandeep and Sardara have been asked to join the ongoing national camp in Bangalore with immediate effect.
Ghulati, however, made it clear that the duo's selection in the Indian team for the four-nation nine-a-side Super Series tournament in Perth, Australia in October is subject to their fitness and performance in the selection trials scheduled to be held in Bangalore on September 26.
Sandeep, on his part, heaved a sigh of relief at HI's decision and said from now onwards his only focus would be hockey.
"It was one of the worst phases of my career which thankfully has passed. Now my only focus will be my game," he said when contacted.
"We (myself and Sardara) will be joining the national camp tomorrow. I am now determined to do well for India in the upcoming international tournaments," Sandeep added.
Asked whether he and Sardara have given any assurance about maintaining "proper conduct" in writing to HI, Sandeep said, "Yes, we have submitted in writing to the Appeals Committee that they can ban us in future if we repeat such things."
Wednesday's hearing was attended by Sports Authority of India's executive director (Teams) Dr PC Kashyap, two government observers - Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey, athlete's representative Rajnish Mishra and from HI M Baladitya and Gurdeep Singh apart from the national body's secretary general Narinder Batra.