Oct 24, 2012

Hockey India League has sounded Deathknell for World Series Hockey

It has been an eventful week for Indian hockey. Just two days after signing 10 Australian players, Hockey India has signed 9 players from New Zealand, 8 from South Africa and 4 players from Germany to join 14 Pakistan players and 90 Indian players for their 6 team Hockey India League beginning on January 15.

The signings by Hockey India League comes as a big blow to Indian Hockey Federation backed World Series Hockey who is already facing a lot of trouble with the players and the FIH. The star signings by Hockey India League is threatening to turn World Series Hockey to hockey’s ICL.

Are good days of WSH coming to an end?
After the debacle in London, something big was needed to rediscover hockey in India and facing threat from WSH, Hockey India came out with its own league which has the star power of Jamie Dwyer, Moritz Fuertse, Dean Couzins and Justin Reid-Ross. 

India, where star power draws big crowds, Hockey India has hit the bulls-eye by signing most of the big names of world hockey. It is clear that the league is as good as the players. If we take an example of cricket, Indian Premier League is bigger than Bangladesh Premier League or Sri Lanka Premier League because of one simple reason- star power. All the big names in the world of cricket play in IPL or they want which makes it the best T20 tournament in the world. Hockey India League which is based on IPL, has done the same which means World Series Hockey who took great advantage of India’s qualification in the Olympics  will once again have to work with the younger players like they did the last time.

Can World Series Hockey compare and challenge Hockey India League with no star power? The answer to this question is no, they cannot, not with the bunch of rejects and young players who are hardly known to the world. 

Compared to last year, the scenario has totally changed. Last year hockey fandom was at its peak due to India’s majestic qualification in the Olympics and everyone wanted more and more of hockey but today after a disastrous performance in London Olympics the optimism has sunk to the nadir and the fans of hockey have decreased and even some of the die-hard fans have said goodbye to the game.

So, the only thing that will attract the crowds once again to hockey is the player power and, clearly World Series Hockey does not have player power to attract the crowd. 

Apart from the player power, there is one another thing that is going against World Series Hockey, and that is the backing of FIH. Hockey India League enjoys full backing of FIH and the FIH has even carved out a separate window for the cash rich tournament which will allow players from every nation to compete in it. On the other hand, World Series Hockey under Indian Hockey Federation has been declared an unsanctioned tournament which is keeping the players away. 

HIL has signed all the big names including Moritz Furste
One of the major attractions of last year’s tournament was the players from Pakistan, who dazzled the crowds with the play and earned many fans. This time though, even the Pakistan players who participated in the first season WSH will miss the action as the dates of second edition of World Series Hockey clashes with the 2nd edition of Asian Champions Trophy. And surely, people would rather watch best in Asia compete in a tournament rather than watching a league with no big names.

No, doubt World Series Hockey came as a boon for Indian hockey as it has brought some new and exciting talent along with reinstating the credibility of discarded players. Gurjinder Singh, Harpal Singh, Karan Bhaskaran, Lalit Upadhyay, Devinder Walmiki are just few of the young guns who stole the show by showcasing their talent even they must feel that their time with World Series Hockey is up. Every player just has one dream, representing his county and same must be the case with the young players who were part of first season in WSH. Despite performing really well in the WSH and the recently concluded national hockey championships, these players find themselves out of the probable list due to just one reason- they played in WSH and thus were banned for 1 year. And with Hockey India League coming and the players getting good money, it will be not be easy for World Series Hockey to hang on to these players.

Right now, everything seems to be going against World Series Hockey and if WSH has to prosper or even survive then it can just hope that FIH restores IHF as NSF for hockey in India and going by the current scenario, the balance is heavily tilted in the favour of Hockey India.

Right now, everything is going against World Series Hockey and WSH needs to pull a rabbit out of its hat by the time next season starts because Hockey India League is taking all the steps to make WSH hockey’s ICL.

Following are the players signed by World Series Hockey


Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri, PR Sreejesh, P Thirumala Rao, Nanak Singh, Keerthi Mallesh Gowda, Keshav Dutt, Sushant Tirkey, Naveen Kumar, Subodh Tirkey, Phirembam Bisham Singh.
Defenders: VR Raghunath, Rupinder Pal Singh, Sandeep Singh, Harbir Singh, Rahul Shilpkar, Chandan Singh, Gaganpreet Singh, Sukhmanjit Singh, Hans Raj, Gagandeep Singh, Amit Rohidas, Sampath Kumar Maylaram, Sumit Topno, Vikramjit Singh.
Midfielders: Sardar Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Birendra Lakra Jr, Ignace Tirkey, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Bipin Kishor Kerketta, MB Aiyappa, Pradeep Mor, M Gunasekar, Amit Kumar Malik, Captain Singh, Jatinder Singh, Manish Bishnoi, Jarmanpreet Singh, Baljit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harjeet Singh, Rocky Lohchab, Suresh Toppo, Saroj Barla Gurinder Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Vikas Choudhary.
Forwards: SV Sunil, Tushar Khandker, Shivendra Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, SK Uthappa, Sarvanjit Singh, Nitin Thimmaiah, Pradhan Somanna, Chinglensana Singh, Prabhdeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Yuvraj Valmiki, Gurmail Singh, Ranjit Singh, Dilbag Singh, Mohit Singh Thakur, Naveen Antil, Talwinder Singh, Tarandeep Singh, Amon Mirash Tirkey, Parvinder Singh, Vinit Kamble, Vikas Choudhary, Stanli Victor Minz, Anup Valmiki, PL Thimmanna, Sukhdev Singh, Mandeep Singh, Malik Singh, Satbir Singh, Harsahib Singh, Vijay Thapa, Amon Lowrence, Munish Rana, Siddharth Shanker, Kiran Kumar Thockchom, KD Bidappa, Mikhail Barla, Arvind Kujur.

Goal-keepers:Imran Shah, Imran Butt; Defenders: Muhammed Irfan, Sohail Abbas, Muhammad Imran, Syed Kashif Shah; Midfielders: Muhammad Rizwan Jr, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mehmood, Muhammad Tousiq; Forwards: Muhammad Rizwan Sr, Shafqat Rasool, Waqas Muhammad, Ali Shan.

Mark Knowles, Fergus Kavanagh, Liam de Young, Jamie Dwyer Edward Ockenden, Luke Doerner, Russell Ford, Kiel Brown, Simon Orchard, Christopher Ciriello and Rob Hammon.


 Simon Child, Phillip Burrows, Dean Couzins, Hamish McGregor, Shea Mcaleese, Steven Edwards, Hugo Inglis and Nicholas Wilson.

Austin Smith, Justin Reid Ross, Lloyd Norris Jones, Thornton McDade, Lloyd Madsen, Rhett Halkett, Erasmus Pieterse and Clinton Panther.

Mortiz Fuerste,Oliver Korn, Deecke Oskar and Jacobi Nicolas.

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