Thirteen foreign players, including short corner specialist Sohail Abbas of Pakistan, will take part in the Premier Hockey League, billed as the mega hockey event of the year, starting at the Gachibowli hockey complex here from January 13.
"We have made many innovations and the new format will provide a different kind of dynamics on the field," Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) President, K P S Gill said while releasing the list of PHL Tier-I teams on Wednesday.
Besides Sohail Abbas, who holds the record of scoring the highest number of goals in international hockey, Juan Pablo Escarre of Spain, Wasim Ahmed, Ahed Alan, Dilawar Hussain, Kashif Jawwad, Muddassar Ali Khan, Zeeshan Ashraf, Ali Raza, Mohammed Saqlain, Mohd Sarwar (all Pakistan), Kuhan Shanmuganathan and Nor Azlan Bakar (both Malaysia) have confirmed their entries, he said.
Two more foreign players are likely to join the league, Gill said adding, next year no country (hockey playing) will go unrepresented as our efforts are to popularise hockey through live telecast and increasing frequency of the matches to give more exposure to players and viewers as well.
For the first time, players will be getting appearance money in hockey, Gill said but held back the exact amount to be paid to foreign players.
The incentive for Indian players was earlier announced with the skippers getting Rs one lakh each.
Infusing more attraction into the league, a total prize money of Rs 71 lakh is on offer of which Tier-I winners will pocket Rs 30 lakh and runners up Rs 10 lakh.
Speaking on the format, Gill said the matches will have four quarters of 17 minutes and 30 seconds each instead of the present two halves.
Number of players will be reduced during extra time which will change the dynamics of the play drastically and improve the efficiency of the boys, he said.
On composition of teams, Gill said "we tried to balance all the sides giving opportunity to youngsters and also the seniors who are in 30s to prove themselves. Things will be clear after we release the Tier-II list at Lucknow shortly."
Tier-I (Premier Division) matches will be held here while Tier-II (First Division) matches will be held at Lucknow.
The league will be played in a round robin format with all teams playing each other twice. Winner in the stipulated time will get three points for each victory while the team winning in extra time will share the points 2:1.
Hyderabad Sultans: Dilip Tirkey (captian), S Rajasekhar, Inderjeet Singh Chadha, Ajitesh Rai, Harsha Vardhan, Chandan Singh, Suresh, Lazarus Barla, Sameer Dad, Cyril Ekka, Sreejesh (GK), Nitya Jayanand, Susan Topno, Ahmed Alam (GK Pakistan), Sohail Abbas and Wasim Ahmed (Pakistan).
Coach: Narendra Pal Singh.
Bangalore Hi-Fliers: Arjun Halappa (captain), Bharat Kumar Chetri and Kuttappa (GKs), Irshad Ali, Ajay Kumar, Chandrasekhar Xalxo, VS Vinay, Len Aiyappa, Prabodh Tirkey, Pawal Lakra, Amar Aiyamma, Sabu Varkey, Sandeep Michael, Hari Prasad, Sunil Ekka, Tushar Khandekar, Muddassar Ali Khan (Pakistan) and Kuhan Shanmuganathan (Malaysia).
Coach: Ramesh Prameswaran.
Sher-e-Jallandhar: Gagan Ajit Singh (captain), Maninder Singh and Kamaldeep Singh (GKs), Kanwalpreet Singh, Harpal Singh, Jatinder Pal Singh, Baljit Singh Saini, Prabhdeep Singh, Balwant Singh, Ajmer Singh, Baljit Singh Dhillon, Daljit Singh Dhillon, Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur, Didar Singh, Parminder Singh, Mohammed Sarwar (Pakistan) and Noor Azlan (Malaysia).
Coach: Ramandeep Singh.
Maratha Warriors: Viren Rasquinha (captain), Adrian D'Souza and Baljit Singh (GKs), Conroy Remedius, Jaswinder Singh, Sunil Yadav, Vijay Alphonso, Dhanraj Pillay, Girish Pimpale, Shivendra Singh, Devinder Kumar, Errol D'Silva, Hemant Ghete, Humza Mujtaba, Junaid Jada, Ali Raza, Mohammed Saqlain and Kashif Jawwad (Pakistan).
Coach: Clarence Lobo.
Chennai Veerans: Ignace Tirkey (captain), Devesh Chouhan and Rajarajan (GKs), William Xalco, Nitin Kumar, Jagath Jothi, Vivek Gupta, Bimal Lakra, Prabakaran, Jagan Senthil, Adam Sinclair, Venkatesh, Raja, Birender Lakra, Sandeep Singh, Dilawar Hussain (Pakistan) and Juan Pablo Escarre (Spain).
Coach: Harender Singh.