HIL 2014: Jaypee Punjab Warriors preview
After having a poor season in the inaugural edition of Hero Hockey India League, Jaypee Punjab Warriors would like to set the record straight in the second season of HIL. In the inaugural season of the tournament, Punjab Warriors won just 4 of their 14 games with a win percentage of 28.57%.
For season two of the tournament, Punjab Warriors have brought in four new faces and traded for top goal scorer Sandeep Singh from the Mumbai Magicians to strengthen the side.
Let us look at what can be expected from the second season of Hero Hockey India League:
In the inaugural season of the tournament, Punjab Warriors failed completely as they finished in 4th place above Mumbai Magicians.
In the first season, Punjab Warriors won only 4 of their 14 games played, drawing 2 and losing 8 games while scoring 29 goals in the tournament and conceding 34. Three of their four wins coming over Mumbai Magicians spoke a lot about problems in the team.
They did reach the semi-finals of the tournament on account of finishing 4th, but lost to Delhi WaveRiders in the semi-finals and then lost to UP Wizards 4-3 in extra time in the bronze medal game.
Coach Barry Dancer, who in the last season made his team up with experienced Australian players and young Indian players, corrected his mistake when he added some quality Indian players to the side. With their failures in the inaugural season auction, Punjab Warriors made their intent clear when they traded for top scorer Sandeep Singh from Mumbai.
They have also added strength to their forward line with the addition of Indian youngster Affan Yousuf, Karamjit Singh and Australian striker Jacob Whetton. The number of foreign players in the side is still a concern for Punjab Warriors as they were unable to utilize them last time around due to the rule of fielding only five players.
Australian hockey legend Jamie Dwyer had a quiet inaugural season with him scoring just four goals, but he will again be the key player for the Punjab Warriors. The addition of Sandeep Singh to the squad is also a great thing for the team as Punjab Warriors missed a decent penalty corner expert in the first season.
Another player who will play a key role in the team’s performance is striker Shivendra Singh who missed most of the first season with an injury. After being out of the Indian side since Olympics 2012, Shivendra would be raring to get his place back in the Indian team.
After a disappointing first season, Jaypee Punjab Warriors are expected to reach the semi-finals once again, but what owners and coach Barry Dancer would be hoping this time around is to go one step further and reach the finals of the tournament. Punjab Warriors have a good number of players in the side who are capable of taking the team to the finals of the tournament.
Reaching the finals of the Hockey India League will be an uphill task for the Jaypee Punjab Warriors but with decent players in the side, and addition of Sandeep Singh, Jaypee Punjab Warriors can finish third in the Hockey India League.
OFF FIELD PROMOTION
Jaypee Punjab Warriors have roped in India’s biggest rapstar Honey Singh to endorse the team and he has also sung a song for the team’s support. Punjab Warriors are looking to cash in on Honey Singh’s popularity to promote the team
Goalkeepers: Jaap Stockmann and Bharat Chettri
Defenders: Chris Cirirllo, Sandeep Singh, Mark Knowles and Ignace Tirkey
Midfielders: Agustin Mazzilli, Gurinder Singh, Gurmail Singh, Lucas Rey, Rob Hammond and Simon Orchard
Forward: Affan Yousuf, Dharamvir Singh, Gaganpreet Singh, Jacob Whetton, Karamjit Singh, Jamie Dwyer (C), Jarmanpreet Singh, Kieran Govers, Malak Singh, Satbir Singh, Shivendra Singh and S V Sunil