61 video games, 246 targets

The novice nature of hockey and the minimal repairs of its stats e-book means it’s almost unimaginable to know the precise variety of targets Dosanjh has scored in his whole profession. But if the information maintained by hockey statistician BG Joshi are something to go by, then the general numbers can be staggering. Sample this: within the 61 worldwide matches he performed between 1948 and 1956 (which embrace the three Olympics and the abroad excursions in 1954 and 1955), Dosanjh scored an eye-popping 246 targets.

In the three Olympics that he was part of, Dosanjh performed eight matches and scored 22 occasions, together with the 5 targets within the ultimate of the 1952 Games, a document that stands even immediately. But maybe essentially the most spectacular stat that encapsulates the beastly nature of the Indian workforce of that period comes from the 1956 Olympics, the place India scored 38 targets within the match and didn’t concede even as soon as. The workforce, led by Dosanjh, opened the marketing campaign with a 6-0 win over Great Britain, then defeated Afghanistan 14-0 and concluded the group stage with a 16-0 win over the USA. The semifinal and ultimate had been received by an equivalent 1-0 margin towards Germany and Pakistan respectively.
These are simply his numbers from choose worldwide tournaments. One wonders what his profession document would appear to be!

Team man

It was his relentless pursuit of perfection that made Balbir Singh Dosanjh particular. His teammates usually joked that Dosanjh would take dwelling a brand new ball daily after coaching, observe with it towards the wall by himself, and within the night, he would give them the worn-out ball to play. Hitting towards the wall made his ball management distinctive, even on tough and unfriendly surfaces. That, in flip, helped him management the passes in tight areas contained in the ‘D’ and rating targets.

But it wasn’t a one-man present. Udham Singh and KD Singh Babu would use their expertise and method to set him up with goal-scoring probabilities. And Dosanjh would by no means mess it up. “He had no match in the ‘D’,” recollects Gurdev Singh Kular, his teammate from the 1956 Olympics workforce. “He ran like a lion inside the ‘D’ and would evade tackles from the defenders. During the Melbourne Olympics, he told me that if I could give the ball as accurately as he wanted, he could continue playing for another five years. He acknowledged the contribution of the midfielders and that made him the best.”

Team builder

Former India captain Aslam Sher Khan feels as a result of Dosanjh skilled the trauma of partition, he was ‘always above religion’. “He was a proud Sikh but at the same time, also respected other religions,” Khan, who was one of many key gamers of the workforce managed by Dosanjh, says.

An incident from the 1975 World Cup has stayed with Khan all his life. Khan didn’t get an opportunity to play within the league matches of the World Cup. During the semifinal towards Malaysia, Dosanjh and coach Bodhi had been concerned in an animated dialogue over whether or not to exchange Michael Kindo with Khan.

Dosanjh wished the substitution to happen, and Bodhi was towards. Dosanjh’s argument prevailed and he held Khan’s face in his arms and stated, ‘ja beta, aaj tera khuda hi bharat ko bacha sakta hai.’ Khan scored and India reached the ultimate, the place they defeated Pakistan to win their first, and up to now the one, World Cup title. During the match, Dosanjh had additionally made a typical prayer room for all gamers and had changed the standard workforce chant of ‘jo bole so nihal’ (because it resonated extra with gamers from Punjab) with ‘jo bole so hai, bharat mata ki hai’.

Selfless Samaritan

During the Indo-China warfare in 1962, Dosanjh went as much as the then Punjab chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon and supplied his three Olympic gold medals together with different medals for the nationwide catastrophe fund. “He had no savings and told the chief minister that he is giving his biggest asset to the country,” recollects 79-year-old SK Gupta, one in every of Dosanjh’s oldest pals. “Kairon kept the medals on his insistence but later returned those medals to him.”

Years later, when Sports Authority of India requested him to share his memorabilia for a proposed sports activities museum, Dosanjh handed them every little thing besides the three Olympic golds. SAI, it was revealed a long time later, had misplaced all his belongings and the museum by no means noticed the sunshine of day.

His big-heartedness, nonetheless, received him life-long pals. In 2005, when his buddy and teammate from pre-partition days, Muhammad Shahrukh (who had performed for Pakistan within the 1948 Olympics) visited Chandigarh, Balbir hosted dinner for him. One 12 months later, when he visited Lahore to look at the Indian workforce play there, Shahrukh travelled to Rawalpindi to return the gesture.


Lucky 13!

India had named an 18-member squad for the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki: two goalkeepers, three defenders, 5 midfielders and eight forwards. Those days, shirt numbers had been handed out in enjoying order. That meant Balbir Singh Dosanjh ended up getting the quantity 13. During the workforce’s acclimatisation journey to Copenhagen, Denmark, previous to the Games, a younger woman identified to him that 13 is taken into account an unfortunate quantity. “’Thirteen in north Indian languages is pronounced as tera, which is also a form of addressing God, ‘I told her,” Dosanjh wrote in his autobiography. “’For me, this is a lucky number. I dedicate my performances to the One Above.’” Dosanjh wasn’t positive if the woman understood his logic. But there have been indicators, he wrote: the quantity plate of the van that took them to the stadium for the primary match of the Olympics added as much as 13 and in the entire match, India scored 13 targets.

“Associated with the number 13, I have a host of memories that will linger forever in my mind,” he wrote in his e-book. “My house #1534, my office #562, my private car #3163 and my office car #2902, all add up individually to make 13. To round it all, I had a court case going regarding my seniority in the Sports department. The record files sent to the court were 13 in number. And I won the case. Who says number 13 is unlucky!”


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