Three petroleum teams -- Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) -- all boasting experienced Indian stars in their ranks, start as favourites in the Development Credit Bank Aga Khan hockey tournament, which commences at the Bombay Gymkhana on Sunday, May 15.
The final is on May 21.
The three outfits, along with South Central Railway, who have performed very well in all major tournaments in the country in the last couple of months, are directly seeded into the quarter-finals in this century-old tournament, which is being revived by Bombay Gymkhana after almost a decade.
Indian Oil will have Olympians Deepak Thakur, Prabhjoth Singh and Devesh Chauhan; BPCL will have former internationals Sabu Varkey, Ravi Pal Singh and Hari Prasad while ONGC have drag-flicker Diwakar Ram in their ranks.
In the absence of Air-India, Western Railway will lead Mumbai's challenge when they take the field in the inaugural match of the tournament.
Bombay Gymkhana's organising committee, in their endeavour to give Mumbai players as much exposure as possible, has invited two private clubs, Abhi Foundation -- which is run by former Indian goalkeeper Mir Ranjan Negi -- and Companeroes, a Bandra-based outfit.
Rahul Raichand, organising secretary said, "Both Abhi Foundation and Companeroes have many promising youngsters in their teams and we wanted to give them the opportunity to play against the best teams in the country. It will be interesting to see if they can pull off a major upset."
Bombay Gymkhana President's XI will comprise former internationals Viren Rasquinha, Dhanraj Pillay, Darryl D'Souza, Edgar Mascarenhas Jr, Edgar Mascarenhas Sr. and Devinder Kumar. They run into local outfit Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers (RCF) in their first match, on Monday at 1700 hours.
The two semi-finals will be held on May 20, with the final on May 21.