A new-look Dabang Mumbai, under a new city franchise-owning group, will clash with last year's losing finalists Jaypee Punjab Warriors in their opening game of 3rd Hockey India League at Mahindra Stadium here on Friday.
Notwithstanding the absence of a regular national hockey coach since the exit of Australia's Terry Walsh, selector Arjun Halappa sounded upbeat here about the Indian squad's future following its good show over the last year-and-a-half.
Belgium forward Tom Boon on Saturday fetched the highest price in the closed bid for 2015 season of the Hero Hockey India League after he was bought by newcomers Dabang Mumbai for a whoppig USD 103,000.
Having missed the London Olympic Games where India ended up 12th and last, former captain Arjun Halappa feels that deserving youngsters playing for rival World Series Hockey should be picked for the country by Hockey India, which is currently selecting the national squad.
Former Pakistan hockey captain Rehan Butt today said India could have avoided finishing last at the London Olympics had they included seniors such as Arjun Halappa and Bharat Chikara, who took part in the rival World Series Hockey and were ignored by Hockey India for the Games.
Upset at reports that top Indian players would not participate in the World Hockey Series beginning on Wednesday, former India captain Dhanraj Pillay on Tuesday slammed International Hockey Federation for "interfering" in the lucrative league and accused both FIH and Hockey India of playing "dirty" politics.
The dream of former India captain Rajpal Singh and Arjun Halappa to play in the Olympics was over Monday as they were left out from the 48-member list of probables for the 2012 London Games named by Hockey India (HI) here.
Experienced forward Bharat Chikara is set to replace Arjun Halappa as a stand-by in the Indian hockey team for this month`s Olympic Qualifiers after the former captain left the national camp following his omission from the main squad.
Despite India registering a 5-2 victory over Malaysia in the Azlan Shah Cup on Monday, Indian captain Arjun Halappa said that there was a period during the match where the team`s performance was below par