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Hockey India League, not the first choice | The Indian Express

The wake-up call from the AAP that halted the BJP in its tracks in Delhi appears to have finally awakened the Sangh Parivar. For all the buzz created around the Hockey India League (HIL), the second edition is likely see fewer international names. In an unusually packed year, a calendar that features the on-going Hockey World League, the HIL, the World Cup and the Champions Trophy, most teams have to prioritise. Considering it is hard for an athlete to peak in quick succession with little time in between, most of the teams have chosen to focus on the Hockey World Cup to be held in May-June. While the HIL has a window in the hockey calendar, Germany’s head coach Markus Weiss says that the rigour of playing match after match with little time for training and even less for rest hurts players. “If I compare players who are training in the national camp with players playing the Euro League or even the HIL, there is a big difference,” Weiss had said. Holland coach Paul van Ass is also against the idea of losing his players to the HIL. Ahead of last year’s HIL, there was a stalemate between New Zealand players and their association after the tournament’s dates clashed with a national camp. Coach Colin Batch had then said that only players who had been part of the national camp would be considered for national selection. Ultimately the players, including captain Dean Couzins, were permitted to play in the league with Batch monitoring their progress from afar. Australia, which has 24 players signed up with the HIL, has chosen to follow a player-rotation policy while also creating a bigger pool of talent. This gives them the luxury of fielding younger players in the Hockey World League while ensuring that veterans like James Dwyer can participate in the HIL. From the German hockey team currently in India, it is only keeper Nicholas Jacobi who is likely be reprise his role with HIL team Delhi Waveriders. From the Netherlands, goalkeeper Jaap Stockman and drag flicker Sander Baart will stay on in India. Neither Germany nor Netherlands have put restrictions on their players but the Dutch say that their players have chosen to opt out. Team representatives from both Holland and Germany say that next year, with the calendar relatively relaxed, the entire contingent of players from these countries as well as those from untapped nations, such as Belgium, will mark the HIL on their calendar.
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