Brent Livermore and his players, donning the Chennai Cheetahs (CC) colours in the inaugural World Series of Hockey (WSH), are eagerly looking forward to starting their campaign on March 1 at Jalandhar.
At the formal presentation of the team, the players exuded confidence over hitting the jackpot. Misgivings apart over the event getting off the track on February 29 at Chandigarh, the owner of CC, L.T. Nanwani, was optimistic that the issues would be sorted out without casting a shadow over the mega event.
Answering a volley of questions, Mr. Nanwani underlined his commitment to the promotion of hockey in reaching new heights. He was ready to miss a few Indian players if a ban were to be imposed by Hockey India or FIH. There are 27 members in the squad, and shuffling them would not be a problem, he observed.
For Brent Livermore, the WSH is a challenge to relish. He is gearing up. The accomplished Aussie mid-fielder and an Olympic gold medallist is happy that the amalgam of the “fantastic Indian skills” and the technique and scientific approach of the European system, headed by a coach like Jose Brasa, will make CC an irrepressible force. “I will be disappointed if we failed to reach the final,” Livermore observed.
Significantly, the charismatic Aussie revealed that several of his colleagues are fascinated by WSH. And quite a handful, he asserted, would migrate to the WSH after the London Olympics. He did not rule out more Dutch and German players migrating as well.
Coach Brasa, who unveiled the CC colours, was delighted over handling such a talented bunch. He was at a loss to reason out Hockey India’s reluctance to permit WSH, which, technically, is a domestic league like competition in Germany or the Netherlands. Several foreign players come and play on contract. He felt FIH had nothing to do with sanctioning the tournament.
Ms. Laju Munwani, Media Manager and co-ordinator of CC, explained the features of the logo, and the jingle ( Dil Irunda Modhi Paar — If you have the guts take me on) composed by Shrinivas for the team. Mr. Vijay Kumar, Member-Secretary, promised SDAT’s support to the venture.
The programme: Away matches: March 1: v Sher-E-Punjab (Jalandhar); March 3: v Chandigarh Comets (Chandigarh); March 5: v Delhi Wizards (Delhi); March 12: v Bhopal Badshahs (Bhopal); March 15: v Pune Strykers (Pune); March 17: v Karnataka Lions (Bangalore), March 30:v Mumbai Marines (Mumbai).
Home matches (Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium): March 6: v Mumbai Marines; March 9:Pune Strykers; March 10: v Karnataka Lions; March 20: v Bhopal Badshahs; March 25: v Sher-E-Punjab; March 26: v Chandigarh Comets; March 28: Delhi Wizards.
The team: Goalkeepers: Bharath Chetri, Santosh Kumar, Jasbir Singh. Defenders: Amit Prabhakar, D. Mahadik, Gaurajeet Singh, Samir Baxla, Imran Warsi. Mid-fielders: Amardeep Ekka, Brent Livermore (captain), Devender Pal Singh, Joseph Reardon, S.M. Rafeeq, Vikas Sharma, Vikram Pillay. Forwards: Adam Sinclair, Benedikt Sperling, Danish Mujtaba, Dharamvir Singh, Hamza Mujtaba, Muthanna, Peter Kelly, Praveen Kumar, Roderick Huber, S. Arumugam, Sandeep Antil, and V. Raja. Coach: Jose Brasa (Spain).
Source: The Hindu