Posted On Thursday, February 07, 2013 at 08:19:26 AM
Mumbai: The only thing that connects hockey to Allahabad is legendary Major Dhyanchand. Although, the legend played most of his hockey in Jhansi, the fact that he was born there, is a good enough connection.
Yesterday, Danish Mujtaba became only the second person from Allahabad to be given the reins of the Indian team when the selection panel announced him captain for the 22nd Azlan Shah Invitational Tournament, scheduled to be held in Malaysia between March 6 and 17.
• Delhi Waveriders’ Danish Mujtaba dribbles past Mumbai Magicians defenders during a Hockey India League match at Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in Delhi
Danish, a man of few words, sounded more surprised than happy. “I never saw it coming, so it was surprising that they (selectors) named me captain for the coveted Azlan Shah,” Danish told Mirror from Delhi.
Taking up hockey in a city like Allahabad, which does not even have an artificial surface, wasn’t easy. But when you have hockey running in your blood, then how and where you play do not really matter.
His grandfather Idris Ahmed and uncle Atif Idris had represented India. His brother, Hamza, made a brief appearance at the international stage before descending into oblivion. Danish reminds one of the unassuming former India captain Dilip Tirkey. “He doesn’t talk unnecessarily.
He speaks only when spoken to and to the point,” says his father Mujtaba. And it is true. You cannot easily make Danish talk. It seems the Indian forward conserves his energy for the games.
“Captaincy in hockey is about keeping the flock together on the field. It is very unlike cricket where leading a side is much bigger responsibility,” he shot back when asked about what he would look forward to do as a leader of a team that has eight forwards, five mid-fielders and three defenders.