New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Wizards the semi- finalists in the 2015 Hockey India League will be looking to go the extra mile this year with a rejuvenated team in the 4th edition of Coal India Hockey India League the premier league for Hockey in the World today. The six team annual franchise based hockey league, the flagship event of Hockey India - the apex body governing the sport in the country and sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is scheduled to be played across six venues in India from 18th January - 21st February 2016.
The Uttar Pradesh Wizards who will be opening their account against the home team of Kalinga Lancers has a star studded line up on display for this year. The Uttar Pradesh Wizards who made an investment of $724,900, the highest by any franchise will be looking to make the value count. The two most prominent retentions by the UP Wizards have been in the form of Indian stalwarts VR Raghunath and PR Sreejesh who will be defensive spearheads of the team.
The UP Wizards have also managed to garner the services of few of the best world class players to add to the sheen of the team. The star name in the midfield will be that of Tobias Hauke from Germany. The 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medallist will not only be a major boost to the midfield but also a major wall in front of the defence line. He commanded an astonishing amount of $96,000. The defence and the midfield will also see the presence of young Argentines Gonzalo Peillat and Agustin Mazilli, Nicolas Spooner from South Africa, Edward Ockenden from Australia and the Dutch Woute Jolie.
The forward line will also see some of the renowned names in the world of Hockey. The young striker from India Akashdeep Singh was the costliest Indian player to be sold in the auctions and has also been nominated for the FIH Young Player of the Year award for 2015. The striking force will also include the expertise and finesse of Australian veteran Jamie Dwyer who will be looking to make immense in the new franchise. The young Scottish striker Kenny Bain will be seen along with them playing a major role in the attack.
The other Indian national team players who will be seen in the UP Wizards jersey are forwards Jaskaran Singh, Ramandeep Singh and defender Sunil Yadav.
UP Wizards coach, Roger Van Gent said, “The team is a blend of youth and experience. We have players from the Indian national team as well as good overseas talent. Fourth position was a good performance last year but we will looking to go the extra mile this year with the new team.”