Hockey India League will work wonders for Indian hockey: Jamie Dwyer
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Aussie hockey star Jamie Dwyer feels Hockey India League (HIL) will work wonders for the Indian national team as it will provide the young players the chance to learn and mingle with the very best in the game.
"The Hockey League is going to be tremendous for Indian hockey. The youngsters will get the opportunity to compete with the very best players from around the world," he said.
Dwyer, the five-time FIH World Player of the Year, will be captain of the Punjab Warriors franchise. He feels that it will be a challenge for the players from various countries to come together and perform in the upcoming HIL.
"The biggest challenge for these players of such varied cultures is to try and gel together on and off the pitch. We share mutual respect and admiration for each other and the more we play, the sooner our combination will settle," said the Aussie skipper.
The Punjab team has a good mix of established Indian names including Bharat Chetri, forward Sunil V, Shivender Singh and also includes star Aussie players in Kieran Govers, Rob Hammond, Mark Knowles.
Dwyer, affectionately named "Jamie Singh" at the team base in Jallandhar, is also confident that the Indian players will not struggle with the Aussie 'style' of play.
"The Indian and Australian style is very similar. We, both, have an attacking style of play. Our team has some good strikers and we will look to play to our strengths," he said.
The Jaypee Punjab Warriors players were today introduced to the media at the Major Dhyanchand stadium in the capital.
Olympian Zafar Iqbal, the team adviser, feels that the absence of an Indian coach is not an issue and the presence of an Australian coach is beneficial not just for the young players but also for Indian support staff in the teams.