Pitch Perfect


Reunited at the Hockey India League (HIL), the duo is now hoping to recreate the same magic with the Punjab Warriors. For his feeble, but sporting attempts at speaking Punjabi, Dwyer, the captain of Punjab Warriors, is called Jamie Singh by his teammates. But on field, communication is a problem. Dwyer shares a room with India striker Shivendra Singh. "So we converse a lot to improve our communication on field. Given the different cultures in the group, we have used the available time to bond, on and off the field," he says.

Punjab has as many as seven Australians, including Dwyer's brother-in-law and compatriot Mark Knowles another Australian great. It gives a 'homely' feeling to the dressing room in that sense but outside it, there's been very little time to go sightseeing. "The travelling bit is hectic, so a majority of the time has been spent in hotels and airports," he says. "But I've heard of Punjab's rich history in hockey. There are so many talented youngsters here. What has struck me the most is the knowledge people here have about the game. Overall, it augurs well for the sport not just in India, but the world over."

India has been a happy hunting ground for Dwyer. In 2010, he won two major titles here: the World Cup and Commonwealth Games. The same year, his second son was born. He named him Taj. "I won the World Cup and CWG in Delhi. After the Games, I went to the Taj Mahal and thought it was quite fascinating. Later that year, my second child was born, so I thought of naming him Taj. India has been very kind to me. I think the name's cool," he says.

Taj, only two years old, is already in love with hockey. It's natural, one would imagine, considering that in his father, he has the best possible role model. Yet, outside his family and hockey circles, Dwyer is hardly a celebrity in Australia. The 33-year-old says hockey is the 10th most popular sport Down Under. There are close to 1,45,000 registered hockey players in Australia, a number far less than in cricket, rugby, Australia Rules Football or soccer.

... contd.

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