Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jamie Dwyer’s Commonwealth Games axing should have been handled better



The omission of celebrated striker Jamie Dwyer from the Australian men’s hockey team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland next month, has taken many in hockey circles by surprise, including Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles.
The 35-year-old forward has been contemplating about his international future for some time now, without setting any specific time-frame for the same. Hockey Australia obviously want to groom youngsters with an eye on the 2016 Rio Olympics. One cannot fault Hockey Australia for looking at the ‘future’, but for somebody of the stature of Dwyer, who has achieved so much for the country – deserves to go out on a ‘high’.
Apparently, if the Australian media reports are anything to go by, Dwyer is cut up with his Commonwealth Games axing and now intends to go on a vacation and get his batteries recharged.
Dwyer, who equalled Jay Stacy’s record of 321 caps – the most by an Australian – during the 2014 World Cup final against the Netherlands which they won 6-1, did not leave anybody in doubt performance-wise as he looked good in The Hague like most of his team-mates and even scored once in the final against the Dutch.
The fact that Dwyer gone on record about him being among the ‘sixteen best hockey players in Australia’ and that he came to know about his omission through an e-mail makes its amply clear that he hasn’t liked the Commonwealth Games axing at all. Probably, Hockey Australia having a talk with him about his exclusion for the Commonwealth Games would have been the ‘right’ way to go about things.
One is not trying to suggest that Dwyer should be handed ‘special’ treatment, but clearly a star player like Dwyer deserves to be intimated in a much better way than just an e-mail, especially since he is at the fag end of his career, when even being dropped for a match or tournament can trigger murmurs about whether it is curtains for a player.
The point is simple: Hockey Australia could have told him that they are resting him for the Commonwealth Games as they need to try out youngsters keeping in mind the 2016 Rio Olympics. One can’t help but feel that Hockey Australia could have handled this issue (not including Dwyer for the Commonwealth Games) better and not leave the vastly experienced striker with a bad taste in his mouth. It is learnt that Hockey Australia had merely released a statement about the Commonwealth Games team announcement sans any mention about Dwyer – something which hasn’t gone down well with many in Australia.
There is no doubt that age is catching up with Dwyer and one knows for sure that he is keen to spend more time with his family, but the forward must have still not ruled out his chances of playing in the 2016 Olympics. If at all, the selectors or the coaches do not want him in the Rio-Olympics-bound squad, they should tell him upfront and at least allow him play in one international which can be his farewell game. A player of Dwyer’s credentials definitely deserves better.
The writer can be contacted at: suhridbarua@gmail.com
Post a Comment