New Delhi: In a surprise move, former champions Delhi Waveriders (DWR) have released its captain Sardar Singh while retaining six players, including strikers Yuvraj Walmiki and Simon Child for the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Hockey India League (HIL).
Ahead of the fourth edition of HIL next year, each franchisee has been given an option to retain up to three Indian and three international players, while releasing the rest of the squad who will go under the hammer in the 2015 auction.
The three foreign players who have been retained by the Delhi franchisee are star forward Child, defender Steven Edwards and Tristan while besides Walmiki, Talwinder Singh, and Surender Kumar are the Indian players who have managed to hold to their places in the side.
In the last three seasons, the Waveriders played with star-studded players, including Sardar Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Australia's Jason Wilson and Matt Ghodes, New Zealand's Andrew Hayward and South Africa's Lloyd Norris Jones.
But surprisingly, the Waveriders have released all these players, including India captain and star midfielder Sardar.
The Waveriders, instead, preferred to retain promising Indian players Talwinder and Surender who captured the limelight through their brilliant play last season.
While Surender was a huge support to the back line, Talwinder and Yuvraj were commended for their performance upfront and the way they complemented Child in his efforts to create opportunities.
Child has been a key member of the Delhi team since their first season and leads the attack from the front. In the 2015 HIL, he scored the maximum goals for his team and was at the sixth position in the goal-scoring list with four goals.
In the previous season also, Child had scored the same number of goals and had helped his team to win the title. His fellow countryman Edwards also with the team since the first edition, added huge value to the team.
The Waveriders won the second season of the league by beating favourites Jaypee Punjab Warriors. However, they performed below-par in this year's HIL.
"We have retained six players from our existing squad after much deliberation. We will build our team afresh and the players we have retained will lead the team towards new goals in the upcoming HIL 2016," said Amar Sinha, the Executive Director of Wave's Group who are the owners of Waveriders team.
"Simon Child, Tristan White and Steven Edwards are very experienced players and having them in the team will help young players to shape-up according to the team's strategy.
The young and super talented Indian players Yuvraj, Surender and Talwinder are sure to look forward to for their upbeat game on the astroturf," he said in a statement.