In a shocking turn of events reported, most members of the U-19 Bengal hockey squad shaved their heads, days after their coach Anand Kumar reportedly scolded them for a bad performance.
The team that was representing the state in the recent Hockey India Junior National Championship, suffered a 1-5 defeat to the Namdhari XI in the quarterfinal in Jabalpur on January 16.
Following the defeat to Haryana, coach Anand Kumar got so infuriated with his team that he allegedly the boys go bald, and despite the pleading, Kumar reportedly clicked a group photograph as a part of punishment.
However, coach in is defence, denied all the allegation and said that he spoke out of frustration but never meant any of what he said. He stated that the players had themselves decided to go bald because they regretted their performance in the match.
“We were losing by three or four goals at halftime against Namdhari XI. I scolded the boys and, in anger, said I will have their heads tonsured. It was said in frustration. When I came to know some of the players have shaved their heads two days after coming back, I was surprised. I asked them and they said they did it out of repentance, since I had mentioned it to them,” Anand Kumar told a leading newspaper.
According to the reports, while some boys claim that Kumar called them “undisciplined” for refusing to shave head; other who did shave their heads, said it was out of “respect” for the coach, and that there was no pressure.
The U-19 squad comprised 18 players and, according to sources, all players except two have had their heads shaved.