New Delhi: The 2016 season four of Hockey India League is all set to kick off from January 18 and Ranchi Rays enter the pitch as the defending champions.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni owned side play last season's runners-up Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the opening game and skipper Ashley Jackson stated on Thursday that their opponents are equally competitive and hence no days can be taken lightly.
“We are the excited to enter the field as the defending champions and all our opponents are equally competitive, hence we cannot take any day lightly.”
The fourth edition of the HIL this year promises to be an enticing affair for players and fans alike.
With a whooping amount as cash rewards covering several aspects of the tourney for both teams and individuals, added on with newer regulations has made the League an interesting aspect which also promises to be competitive.
Odisha franchise Kalinga Lancers will be eager to do well this time and captain Moritz Fuerste said that this will be a perfect beginning to the Olympic year as it involves the best players in business.
“I missed the last season and hence I was very keen to be a part of this year’s India Hockey India League. This is a perfect beginning to the Olympic year as we get to play against the best players and an amazing crowd which adds to our excitement and performance.”
The tournament, featuring the best talent across the world will see a total of 34 matches being played across six cities of the nation.
The six Franchises battling for supremacy in the attractive competition are Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Delhi Waveriders, Kalinga Lancers, Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Dabang Mumbai and Ranchi Rays.
With the Rio 2016 Olympics this year, the HIL is expected to bring out a lot of fight between players from their respective nations as a showdown ahead of the mega event.