Thirteen foreign players to take part in PHL

Thirteen foreign players, including short corner specialist Sohail Abbas of Pakistan, will take part in the Premier Hockey League.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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India's top hockey stars and several foreign players will be participating in the Premier Hockey League in Hyderabad. On Wednesday, the Indian Hockey Federation announced the Premier Hockey League, starting in Hyderabad on January 13. There is however, still no word on whether Dhanraj Pillay will turn up for the Maratha Warriors team, whose captain is Viren Rasquinha, many years junior to Pillay. Dhanraj's name figures in the IHF list. "As far as we are concerned, we have not heard anything to the contrary," said KPS Gill, President, IHF. Foreigners to play The creme de la creme of Indian hockey has been divided into five teams. 13 foreign players will be seen in action and this will be the first time that India and Pakistan players will be seen defending the same goal-post. The remote-controlling of the relative strengths of each team by the IHF has come in for much criticism. The Federation admits it did try to give Hyderabad Sultans the home advantage. The team already has Sohail Abbas and Wasim Ahmed in its ranks and may get two more foreign players. New format But from next year, the team managements will be free to approach different foreign players. Since the success of the tournament depends so much on its television coverage, the format has been changed to make it more snazzy. "We are going to have four quarters, then there is extra time in which the players are reduced and that creates a different kind of dynamics on the field," said Gill. The Premier League will be followed in March by the national championships and looks like the nationals will have to contend with being a runner-up to the Premier League