New home and new players gives high hope to Waveriders

Since the starting of Coal India Hockey India League, Delhi Waveriders played their home matches at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium but this season, a historic hockey stadium which has seen India’s hockey grow and fall in the past, Shivaji Hockey Stadium will host all of the five home matches for the Delhi Waveriders.

With a new home ground and squad, Waveriders hope to regain the title again. Apart from that they also let go off midfielder Sardar Singh, face of the franchise, who has been captain of the team during the past seasons and helped them to be runners-up in 2013, champions in 2014 and bronze medal last year. Sardar Singh was later picked by Jaypee Punjab Warrior for $58,000.

This year the buys have been crucial for Waveriders. There are young and talented players on display full of promises. Delhi retained Indian forward Yuvraj Walmiki, who spent last year away from the sport and will be looking ahead to make Coal India Hockey Lead India 2016 his step forward toward entry into the Indian National team again. The forward line also features Mandeep Singh, who was picked for $70,000 and is promising an interesting performance. Mandeep will be accompanied by young talent, Talwinder Singh who is 22-years old and in good form.

Vikram Kanth, will be looking forward to impress the national selectors for a return to the team. Kanth will be with star defender with Rupinder Pal Singh, one of the key players was fetched for a price of $68,000.

Another young star who will be interesting to watch this season is Harjeet Singh, Indian junior team captain. He has shown a lot of promise as midfielder in India’s Under-21 and his performance in the Hockey India League will be a crucial for his career.

There is Simon Child, captain of ‘The Black Sticks’, the highest scorer from Waveriders from last year will be looking forward to deliver a similar performance again. Team retained Tristian White, midfielder/defender from Australia, attacker Simon Orchard and defender Steven Edwards from New Zealand.

Other key players from foreign are Iain Lewers from England, Mark Pearson from Canada, Austrian Benjamin Stanzl and Justin Reid-Ross and Austin Smith from South Africa. Ranchi had both Smith and Reid Ross from the first season who are great addition in midfield and defence.

With German goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi gone from Delhi Waveriders in this season has opened opportunities for New Zealander goalkeeper Devon Manchester, who was purchased for $27,000 and India’s Harjot Singh. However, there will be competition between both to make place in the playing eleven.

In an interview, team’s head coach Cedric D’souza said, “We did put up a good show with a podium position finish in the last edition of the Hockey India League but I believe with each new season we should set different expectations.”

He also added, “The Indians and overseas players are gelling together pretty well and it will really help the team to play as one unit or dictate the terms in match.”

Delhi Waveriders will play their first match against Jaypee Punjab Warriors in Chandigarh on January 20th 2016.

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