Hockey Indian League (HIL), the world's most lucrative field hockey tournament, enters it's third season with two new franchises bidding to win hearts. HIL has been a boon to Indian hockey, and it's continued success is pivotal to the existence of the sport in the country.
Defending champions: Delhi Waveriders
Leading scorer: Sandeep Singh (Punjab Warriors), 22 goals
Let's have a look at all the six franchises competing in HIL 3.
Coach – Cedric D’souza, India
Captain – Sardar Singh, India
Home turf – Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi
Defending champions are once again one of the favourites to win the tournament. They are also the most consistent team, having won 19 out of 26 matches overall – including two finals. They have also posted a record run of 11 unbeaten matches in the first edition. Captained by India skipper, Waveriders, know how to win matches and the tournament.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh (India), Pirmin Blaak (Netherlands)
Defenders: Surender Kumar (India), Rupinder Pal Singh (India), Steven Edwards (New Zealand), Diwakar Ram (India), Tristan White (Australia), Andres Mir Bel (Spain), Andrew Hayward (New Zealand)
Midfielders: Bipin Kishor Kerketta (India), Gurbaj Singh (India), Sardar Singh (India), Tim Drummond (South Africa)
Forwards: Imran Khan (India), Danish Mujtaba (India), Akashdeep Singh (India), Gurvinder Singh Chandi (India), Talwinder Singh (India), Yuvraj Walmiki (India), Armaan Qureshi (India), Matt Gohdes (Australia), Jason Wilson (Australia), Simon Child (New Zealand), Lloyd Norris-Jones (South Africa)
Coach – Barry Dancer, Australia
Captain – Jamie Dwyer, Australia
Home turf – Mohali International Hockey Stadium, Mohali
Surely they are the team to beat in this edition of the HIL. Under the leadership of hugely experienced and successful Australian Jamie Dwyer, Warriors can beat any team. It has the Hockey Player of the Year, Mark Knowles and the tournament's top-scorer Sandeep Singh. And they will be more than motivated to win the tournament after losing the title last edition on penalties to Delhi Waveriders.
Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (India), Jaap Stockman (Netherlands)
Defenders: Sandeep Singh (India), Gaganpreet Singh (India), Varun Kumar (India), Christopher Ciriello (Australia), Mark Knowles (Australia)
Midfielders: Gurmail Singh (India), Gurinder Singh (India), Jarmanpreet Singh (India), Simranjeet Singh (India), Lucas Rey (Argentina), Rob Hammond (Australia), Simon Orchard (Australia), Agustin Mazilli (Argentina)
Forwards: Dharamvir Singh (India), Malak Singh (India), Affan Yousuf (India), Shivendra Singh (India), S V Sunil (India), Satbir Singh (India), Jamie Dwyer (Australia), Kieran Govers (Australia), Jake Whetton (Australia)
Coach – Jude Felix, India
Captain – Vikram Kanth, India
Home turf – Kalinga Stadium, Bhuvnashwer
Despite having a promising squad, Lancers have failed to perform and finished last in their debut season in 2014, losing seven of the ten matches during the campaign. But with a balanced squad, Lancers may well end up surprising other teams in 2015. Certainly, a team in revival mode!
Goalkeepers: Harjot Singh (India), Andrew Charter (Australia);
Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey (India), Gurjinder Singh (India), Gonzalo Peillat (Argentina), Ramon Alegre (Spain), Aran Zalewski (Australia);
Midfielders: Mohd. Amir Khan (India), David Minz (India), Mohd. Nizammudin (India), Vickram Kanth (India), Devinder Sunil Walmiki (India), Vikas Sharma (India), Ryan Archibald (New Zealand), Kiel Brown (Australia), Roca Oliva Isern (Spain), Glenn Simpson (Australia);
Forwards: Mandeep Antil (India), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (India), Roshan Minz (India), Pradhan Sommanna Pudiyokkada (India), Lucas Villa (Argentina), Russell Ford (Australia).
Coach – Harendra Singh, India
Captain – Ashley Jackson
Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, Ranchi
Mahendra Singh Dhoni co-owned franchise replaces Ranchi Rhinos that took part in the last two editions of HIL with limited success. Involving India's most famous sports person in the league has been a master-stroke. And if Rays replicate this success on the field, it will be a big win for Indian hockey.
Goalkeepers: Sushant Tirkey (India), Francisco Cortes (Spain)
Defenders: Birendra Lakra (India), Amit Rohidas (India), Anand Lakra (India), Fergus Kavanagh (Australia), Justin Reid-Ross (South Africa)
Midfielders: Prabhdeep Singh (India), Khadangbam Kothajit Singh (India), Manpreet Singh (India), Ajitesh Roy (India), Ashley Jackson (England), Moritz Furste (Germany), Barry Middleton (England), Austin Smith (South Africa), Daniel Beale (Australia)
Forwards: Stanli Victor Minz (India), Amon Mirash Tirkey (India), Mandeep Singh (India), Parvinder Singh (India), Ajay Yadav (India), Pawan Kumar (India), Nicolas Wilson (New Zealand), Trent Mitton (Australia)
Coach – Valentin Altenburg, Germany
Home turf – Mahindra Hockey Stadium, Mumbai
Dabang are one of the two new entrants this season. They replaced Mumbai Magicians with former India captain Viren Rasquinha acting as the team mentor. And they have the most expensive player in the league, Belgian forward Tom Boon. With a attacking line-up involving Boon, Anup Valmiki and Glenn Turner, Dabang surely can test opposing defenders.
Goalkeepers: Adrian D’Souza (India), David Harte (Ireland)
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (India), Amit Gowda (India), Jeremy Hayward (Australia), Timothy Deavin (Australia), Tomas Prochazka (Czech Republic), Conor Harte (Ireland, Defender)
Midfielders: Nilakanta Sharma (India), Vinaya Vokkaliga Swamy (India), Tyron Pereira (India), Santa Singh (India), Rajat Sharma (India), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (India), Vikas Vishnu Pillay (India), Arjun Halappa (India), Vikram Vishnu Pillay (India), Matthew Swann (Australia), Nick Catlin (England), Floris Evers (Netherlands)
Forwards: Anup Amarpal Valmiki (India), Bharat (India), Tom Boon (Belgium), Glenn Turner (Australia)
UTTAR PRADESH WIZARDS
Coach - Roelant Oltmans, Netherlands
Captain – V.R. Raghunath, India
Home turf – Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium, Lucknow
So far, Wizards from Lucknow have been the third best team in the competition's history. They have lost in the semi-finals of previous editions thus earning the moniker! Their inability to cross the penultimate hurdle may all come down to sheer luck as they have one of the best squads assembled in this league. Sooner or later, they will start delivering.
Goalkeepers: Sreejesh PR (India), Kumar Subramaniam (Malaysia), George Bazeley (Australia);
Defenders: V R Raghunath (India), Harbir Singh (India), Marcel Balkestein (Netherlands), Jolie Wouter (Netherlands);
Midfielders: Pardeep Mor (India), Harjeet Singh (India), Sumit (India), Eddie Ockenden (Australia), Alexander Baart (Netherlands), David Alegre (Spain), Bob De Voogd (Netherlands), Shea McAleese (New Zealand);
Forwards: M Gunasekar (India), Tushar Khandker (India), Ramandeep Singh (India), Nikin Thimmaiah (India), Nithin Thimmaiah (India), S K Uthappa (India), Harmanpreet Singh Bal (India), Jasjit Singh Kular (India), Jeroen Hertzberger (Netherlands).