The man who inspired the movie ‘Chak De! India’

Mir Ranjan Negi

Mir Ranjan Negi might get a chance to do a ‘Chak De!’ again. Not on reel, but for real. The sudden vacancy of the coach’s post for the women’s hockey team, owing to the resignation of long-time incumbent MK Kaushik over sexual harassment allegations, could pave the way for Negi to take over the reins of the women’s team.

Though nothing has been finalized yet, Negi – whose chequered career has striking similarities with Kabir Khan’s (Shah Rukh Khan) in the blockbuster – is believed to have sent his consent letter to Hockey India. It’s not yet clear who approached whom.

However, he’s not too sure if he’ll be able to replicate the ‘Chak De!’ magic if he gets the job. “Reel life is very different from real life. Even if I get to coach the girls, there’s very little time left for the Commonwealth and Asian Games. But then, miracles do happen. I have witnessed it many times during my life.”

He certainly has. The former India goalkeeper went into hiding after he was accused of accepting money to ensure India’s 1-7 loss to Pakistan in the 1982 Asiad. He returned as goalkeeping coach for the 1998 Asian Games where the Indian men won the gold. He was goalkeeping coach of the Indian women’s team which won the 2002 Commonwealth Games and assistant coach when Indian women won the Asia Cup in 2004.

Negi may well become the next coach of the women’s hockey team. However, keeping with the drama that has become a constant sideshow to Indian hockey, HI secretary general Narinder Batra claimed it was Negi who approached the federation first, expressing his willingness to take up the job while Negi said he gave his consent only after he was asked.

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