CHITRAL: The deputy commissioner of Lower Chitral on Sunday announced the names of polo players included in five polo teams that will take part in the annual three-day Shandur festival starting from July 7.Photo: Manzoorul Mulk
Surprisingly, however, the name of Shahzada Sikendarul Mulk, who has been leading the Chitral A team against Gilgit in the final of the tournament for three decades and brought home the trophy many times, is not included in the list. His unceremonious removal from the main team has disappointed polo players.
There are five teams from Chitral – A, B, C, D and Suibdivision Mastuj. The captain of the A team is Izhar Ali Khan, while the B, C, D and Subdivision Mastuj teams will be led respectively by Raza Khan, Ali Quli Khan, Shamim Ahmed and Shahbaz Nayab.
The notification issued by the DC stated the names of the players were finalized by the district selection committee at its meeting held on June 29.
3 Replies to “Shahzada Sikendar dropped from Chitral polo team for Shandur”
Did anybody probe into the fact that may be Shahzada Sikandar ul Mulk himself did not want to play at Shandur? All his colleagues have already retired from the game. It would be unfair to blame people without knowing the truth; which only shahzada sb himself can verify.
Pakistan has a history of treating shabbily the players who have brought it good name, laurel and renown. Why should Chitral be an exception to this and set a different tradition ? Over the last two and a half decades the one player who has brought a name, dignity, grace and fame to the game has been Shahzada Sikander Ul Mulk and represented it well as an ambassador. The game played by the Chitrali and Gilgiti players, for most of the players who cannot find employment in the some of the services that partronise different teams, the reward is very small and would be best described by the word peanuts. We are therefore doubly bound to honour the heroes that grace this field voluntarily. Their passion and commitment drive them to rear their horses, an expensive hobby, and play the tough game on the field to give us rare moments of delight and joy. Sikander is one of those who dedicated his life to a game he has loved and brought joy to thousands of people for years who love and enjoy the game. When Imran Khan decided to remove the elegant and graceful Majid Khan, his cousin and childhood hero from the Pakistan cricket team because he thought he had better players who could replace him, he made sure that Majid Khan would get a chance to play his farewell test in Lahore before his home crowd and recalled him to the team to make this possible. With Imran Khan heading the country’s government its expected that his values would also permeate the government services that are to implement his policies. Despite his injury Sikander was outstanding at Shandur last year and his ability to score a goal with the tampook in the Chitral tournament this year made his stand out despite his team of volunteers doing badly against the well fed and partronised services teams. His exclusion from the Chitral team for Shandur therefore makes one wonder what reasons prompted it? If it was a well deliberated decision based on merit and equity there is no reason to grumble about it except the timings. After all time takes a toll of even the best athlete and Sikander can be no exception . But in the recent past two controversies have been widely reported in the press and on the social media. The first related to a hotel in Chitral where Sikander was not directly associated but could also be made to suffer for his relationships and the second relates to his advocacy for improving the polo ground and advocating and rallying people for treating the polo players well. Both caused resentment in some quarters in Chitral. I sincerely hope that the Deputy Commissioner who holds an esteemed office was above petty resentments and public interest guided his decision and the selection committee to drop Sikander. Even if one accepts that everything was fair what will however be sad is that we have continued the ugly tradition of treating our heroes shabbily in the way we announced this decision. The Deputy Commissioner should have appreciated the services of this individual to the game and Chitral and thought about the timings and manner of his announcement twice. It would have detracted nothing from his office but would have given it greater dignity and respect.
Shahzada sikender is king of polo and a legend of the game. If he has decided to call it a day he should announce it in public. If the district administration has dropped him it should explain the reasons behind it.
This is not the way such a player who is known the world over for captaining the polo at Shandur is sent home in an unceremonious manner. who the selection committee is. Polo is chitral’s popular game and if there is any committee it should be represented by people of Chitral. The DC should not be the only one calling the shots.