Lucknow: Following in the footsteps of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina has become the second cricketer to be associated with the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) after he was named on Monday as the co-owner of the Uttar Pradesh Wizards franchise.
Raina's association with HHIL comes closely on the heels of Dhoni's entry into the world of hockey after he recently became the co-owner of the Ranchi franchise and renamed it Ranchi Rays.
On his association with the Sahara Group-owned team, Raina said he was he was "proud" to be associated with hockey, which boasts of rich history in the country.
"It is a memorable day for me because today I am immensely proud to be associated with the national sport of our country, hockey, by joining UP Wizards," Raina said at an event held at the Sahara Shaher here.
"Uttar Pradesh is a land of world class hockey players like Major Dhyan Chand, K D Singh Babu and many more to follow and since my sports college days in Lucknow, I have a lot of friends who are hockey players. I will make all possible endeavours and bring all sorts of support required for uplifting the game of hockey in the region," he said.
The cricketer from Ghaziabad also took the occasion to congratulate the Indian hockey team for winning the gold medal at the Asian Games in Incheon after a hiatus of 16 years.
"On this occasion, I would also like to take the opportunity of congratulating the Indian hockey team for bringing laurels to our nation by winning gold in the Asian games after a span of sixteen years and qualifying directly to the Olympics," Raina said.
Sahara Group Head of Corporate Communication and a representative of Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Abhijit Sarkar added: "Hockey is our national game and we are proud owner of UP Wizards. We are sure that association of Suresh Raina will make hockey more popular in the state and will attract more fans. We will achieve greater laurels and success in the sport of hockey in the coming years and we are committed to the development of sports at all levels in the country."