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Premier Hockey League ready to roll
January 04, 2006 20:35 IST
Fourteen leading foreign players, including Mohammad Saqlain, Rehan Butt and Balder Bomans, will be seen in action in the second edition of the Premier Hockey League, starting in Chandigarh on Thursday.
For the first time in the history of the game the services of a third umpire will be utilized in the tournament, which will have a best-of-three final.
Defending champions Hyderabad Sultans and Maratha Warriors hit-off the month-long extravaganza.
While Hyderabad Sultans is led by Indian hockey stalwart Dilip Tirkey, spirited midfielder Viren Rasquinha is captain of Maratha Warriors.
The other three teams in the premier division also look good enough to offer a tough challenge.
Sher-e-Jalandhar, the side that lost to Sultans in the final last year, is led by star striker Gagan Ajit Singh.
The Arjun Halappa-led Bangalore Lions also should be a tough nut to crack.
Led by Rajpal Singh, local flavour Chandigarh Dynamos could be the team to watch out for as it boasts of names like Balder Bomans (The Netherlands) and Mudassar Ali Khan (Pakistan).
Of the foreign players, eight are from Pakistan, two each from The Netherlands and Spain, and one each from Argentina and New Zealand.
Among the Pakistani players, Salman Akbar and Shakeel Abbasi will play for Hyderabad Sultans, The other Pakistanis are Rehan Butt (Bangalore Lions), Mohammad Saqlain (Sher-e-Jalandhar), Adnan Zakir and Imran Warsi (Maratha Warriors) and Imran Khan and Mudassar Ali Khan (Chandigarh Dynamos).
The Netherlands' Balder Bomans will play for Chandigarh Dynamos and Lodewijk de Bruijn for Maratha Warriors.
While Jordi Quintana of Spain will play for Bangalore Lions, compatriot Pau Quemada will play for Sher-e-Jalandhar.
Argentina's Jorge Lombi will turn out for Hyderabad Sultans and New Zealand's Bevan Hari will be represent Sher-e-Jalandhar
Week 5: (Finals)
Note: Top two teams qualify for a best-of-three final after the round-robin league.
Note: The winner will be decided on the performance in the round-robin league.