New Delhi: The Hockey India has announced Star Indian midfielder Sardar Singh and Australian stalwart Jamie Dwyer as the brand ambassador of the Hockey India League. The decision was announced by Narinder Batra, Hockey India secretary-general and Hockey India League chairman, here at the launch of the HIL logo yesterday. The league will see six franchises fighting it out in a 33 match tournament starting from Jan. 5, 2013.
“It is an honor for the league to have these two players as brand ambassadors,” said Batra. He also stressed on the point that the league will help Indian hockey as it will give a much needed exposure to the Indian players.
“Like others, I was also hurt by India’s performance in the Olympics, no one wants to lose and nobody wants to come last. But it is a thing of past and I hope that this league will bring in a healthy change in the game. My vision is that within the next 4-5 years, India will be among the top 4 teams in the world”, said Batra.
Six teams will participate in the league and will play on home and away basis for the play-offs, the team who will finish on top on the points table after the league stage will get a direct entry into the finals. The teams finishing on third and fourth position will feature in the first play-off match and the winner will face the second place team in the second play-offs to go to the finals.
Every team will have 24 players in it and one team can have only 10 international players. Batra also announced that only five international players can be on the field at one time.
IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla who was present at the event said, “People will be thinking what I am doing here, but the thing is that we want all the sports to develop in the nation. It is a great initiative by Hockey India and I hope it has the same influence on hockey that IPL has had on cricket.”
Sardar Singh when asked on how the event will help Indian hockey, said, “I think it is a great initiative by Hockey India. The best thing about this tournament will be that it will give us the opportunity to play with the best players from the world. There will be some young players who wouldn’t have seen these international greats and this tournament will provide them that opportunity.”
Jamie Dwyer also said the tournament will help Indian hockey, “The format of the tournament is such that it will give young players a lot of opportunities to play with the experienced blocks from all over the world and they can learn a lot. On a personal front, I love coming to India and I am looking forward for this tournament to start.”
By Indian Sports News Network