A shortened, compact fourth edition of the Premier Hockey League will be held at the floodlit Sector 42 Hockey Stadium in Chandigarh from December 20.
Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) president KPS Gill said here today that seven teams would play in a league-cum-knockout format.
He said the seven teams, who were in the fray last year too, will first play in a round-robin league to decide the semifinalists.
The semifinals will be a knockout affair followed by a best-of-three finals. In all, the PHL will feature 26 matches this time.
Gill said the format had been shortened as the foreign players would be available only in December due to their preoccupation with the European Championship and the European League.
India and some other teams will also be busy with the Olympic qualifying tournaments in early 2008. India will play their Olympic qualifiers in Chile.
The seven PHL teams are Orissa Steelers, Sher-e-Jalandhar, Chandigarh Dynamos, Chennai Veerans, Maratha Warriors, Bangalore Hi-Fliers and Hyderabad Sultans. Gill said the team captains and the players were finalised by the respective state hockey associations in consultation with the IHF.
He said for the first time, 21 talented players from India’s under-19 and under-21 teams had been distributed among the teams. Gill said there would also be 21 foreigners, but they would be named in December.
He said the Chandigarh stadium was chosen “as it is a fantastic venue and the crowd response was excellent”. He stated that other venues were also considered, but since the matches would be telecast live by ESPN-Star Sports, one of the stake holders, the PHL could be held only at a stadium with floodlights and Astro-turf.
He said from next year, the IHF would have the option of rotating the PHL as hockey stadiums were being floodlit at Jalandhar, Rourkela and Guhawati.
When asked whether Rick Charlesworth would have any role to play in the PHL, since the former Australian Olympian will be engaged with the Indian team for their Olympic qualification process, Gill said, “We are in the process of making Chandigarh as the headquarters of Charlesworth’s operations.”
Gill said after feedback from technical consultant Maurits Hendriks, “we have decided to carry on with the shootout, instead of the penalty strokes, during the tie-breaker. All other rules remain the same.”
ESPN chief operating officer Vijay Rajput said the total prize money will remain the same as last year - Rs 75 lakh - with the winners pocketing Rs 40 lakh and the runners-up Rs 20 lakh. The losing semifinalists will earn Rs 5 lakh each.
Orissa Steelers: Dilip Tirkey (capt), William Xalxo, Jitendra Saroha, Prabodh Tirkey, Roshan Minz, Bruno Hadrian Lugun, Sunil Yadav, Damandeep Singh, Sunil Ekka, Birendra Lakra, Gurupreet Singh, Ignace Tirkey, Amardeep Ekka, Eliazar Lakra and Ajitesh Rai. Officials: Ramesh Pathania (chief coach), Pranab Kishore Pattnaik (asst coach), Sailendra Prasad Berma (physical trainer) and Pratap Satpathy (manager).
Sher-e-Jalandhar: Kanwalpreet Singh (capt), Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Kulwinder Singh, Jarnail Singh, Davinder Singh Bath, Harpal Singh, Prabhdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Yudhvir Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Pradeep Kumar, Ranjodh Singh, Gagan Ajit Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Jugraj Singh and Sarvanjit Singh. Officials: Balwinder Singh, Sanjiv Kumar, Mohan Singh and SS Sodhi.
Chandigarh Dynamos: Rajpal Singh (capt), Baljit Singh, Surinder Singh, Sandeep Singh, S.S.Gill, Gaurav Tokhi, Jaswinder Singh, Sanjeev Kumar, Irshaad Ali, Deepak Thakur, Inderjit Chadha, Prabhjot Singh, Ravi Pal, Sher Singh and Dharamveer Singh. Officials: N.S. Sodhi, Devinder Kumar, Mohan Singh and Amarjit Singh.
Chennai Veerans: Adam Sinclair (capt), Sanawar Ali, Sreejesh P.R., Isaac, Muthuselvan, Sivabalan, Kumar, Senthil Kumar, Innocent Kullu, Mahendra Singh, Raja V, Ashwin, Raghunath, Sommanna, Danish Mujtaba and Vikramjit Singh. Officials: C.R. Kumar, Ramaswamy, Srikanth and Sampath.
Maratha Warriors: Viren Rasquinha (capt), Adrian D’Souza, Suraj Kanta, Kuldeep Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Vikram Pillay, Amjer Singh, Girish Pimple, Tyrone Pereira, Dhananjay Mahadik, Bharat Kumar Chikara, Shivender Singh, Alden D’Souza, Hardeep Singh and Mirza. Officials: Clarence Lobo, P.L.Murugappan, H.S.Cheema and Mukul Pandey.
Bangalore Hi-Fliers: Tushar Khandekar (capt), Bharat Kumar Chhetri, Len Aiyappa, P.T. Rao, Ajay Kumar Saroha, V.S. Vinaya, Bimal Lakra, Arjun Halappa, Vikram Kanth, Cheeyanna, Hari Prasad, Sandeep Michael, S.V.Sunil, K.A.Nilesh and Kamarjit Singh. Officials: Ashish Ballal, A.E.Brient, C.S.Poonacha and Kannan Krishnamurthy.
Hyderabad Sultans: Sardara Singh (capt.), Dinesh Ekka, Samir Baxla, Jasbir Singh, Diwakar Ram, Johnson Ekka, Anand Tirkey, Nitin Kumar, Didar Singh, Pramod Kumar, Bikas Toppo, Pawal Lakra, Veersingh, Kulbhushan and K.M. Chengappa. Officials: Madhukaran, Alphonse Lazarus, C.R. Bheem Singh and P Kanthaiah.
Names of foreign players will be added later.
(Courtesy, The Tribune)