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Dhanraj Pillay to play in PHL
January 07, 2005 23:39 IST
Laying to rest all speculations, veteran striker Dhanraj Pillay on Friday said he would play in the inaugural Premier Hockey League in Hyderabad and donate his earnings from the event to the tsunami-affected victims through the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.
Pillay said though he was upset with the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for the way they treated him during and after the Athens Olympics, he wanted to play as whatever he had achieved so far was because of hockey.
The ace forward, who has represented India in four Olympic Games, said he was ready to play in the tournament, starting on January 13, under anyone as he has no ego problems playing under juniors like he had done in the last two Olympic Games at Sydney, 2000 and Athens, 2004.
"I will play the Premier Hockey League because hockey is bigger than the players. Whatever I am today is because of this great game," Pillay stated in a signed media statement released in Mumbai.
"I am playing the PHL for tsunami-affected families and whatever money I will earn from the league will be donated to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund," the 36-year-old, who is to play for Maratha Warriors team under Viren Rasquinha, said.
"I was very upset with the IHF for the way they treated me during and after the Athens Olympics. I am playing because hockey will be hurt if I stay away from the game due to differences with people in the administration," Pillay said.
Pillay said he wanted the media to focus its attention on the younger players as he had been suggesting in the past.
"I had publicly stated before and continue to repeat that media attention should go to youngsters who are the future of Indian hockey.
"Having played with many of the juniors and trained alongside them in camps, I am confident that these talented, exciting players will prove themselves against foreign professionals in the PHL," Pillay concluded.
A total of 13 foreign players, including ace drag flicker Sohail Abbas of Pakistan, will take part in the PHL which is to be played at Hyderabad's Gachibowli hockey complex while two more overseas players are likely to add to the glamour.
Five teams -- Hyderabad Sultans with Dilip Tirkey as captain, Bangalore Hi-Fliers led by Arjun Halappa, Sher-e-Jalandhar with Gagan Ajit Singh at the helm, Maratha Warriors and Chennai Veerans headed by Ignace Tirkey--will be playing the month-long round robin league matches.