With the first season turning out to be a fiasco for the Burman family-owned Mumbai Magicians, M.K. Kaushik and his camp are now looking for the team’s resurrection when they start their campaign in Season 2 of the Hockey India League. In the first season of the HIL, Mumbai Magicians won just one game out of 12 played, losing the rest, with a paltry win percentage of 8.33. They scored only 20 goals in the tournament out of which eleven were scored by Sandeep Singh, who in this season will play for Jaypee Punjab Warriors. The team conceded 32 goals in the tournament to finish last in the league.
After the poor performance in the first season, the Mumbai Magicians brought in M.K. Kaushik as their coach, replacing one of the best coaches of the world Ric Charlesworth.
The Mumbai Magicians think tank looks better prepared for the second season of the Hockey India League as compared to the first year. After losing four Pakistan players during season 1 of the tournament due to cross-border tensions, Ric Charlesworth had done well to recruit good Indian and well as foreign talent in the team.
In the post season auctions and transfers, Mumbai Magicians traded their and the tournament’s top goal scorer Sandeep Singh to Jaypee Punjab Warriors. His move to Punjab Warriors opened the door for Gurjinder Singh, who was the top goal scorer and best player of the rebel league World Series Hockey. Gurjinder’s expertise in the Hockey India League and his defending will help the Mumbai Magicians. Not just Gurjinder, Mumbai Magicians added another World Series Hockey player Prabhjot Singh to their squad. Prabhjot, a veteran of the game, will give Mumbai Magicians an edge over other teams in the left flank and his leadership skills will also help the team which was looking lost in the first season.
Along with Prabhjot and Gurjinder, Mumbai Magicians added more experience to the squad by buying Indian players like Bharat Chikara, Ravipal Singh, Vikas Pillay and VS Vinaya. Four Pakistan players last year were replaced by four English players, i.e. Simon Mantell, Adam Dixon, Mark Gleghorne and keeper David Harte from Ireland.
Following last season’s trend, the key player for Mumbai Magicians is going to be their penalty corner expert Gurjinder Singh who will be expected to play the role of Sandeep Singh and be among the top goal scorers of the tournament. In the forward line, the addition of Prabhjot Singh will also likely play a key role. His presence on the left flank will keep the opposition defenders on their toes and the focus on him will allow other players to move more freely. Prabhjot has been out of the Indian team for a long time and he too would be itching to make a comeback.
The midfield of Mumbai Magicians which was overrun by the opposition in season one of the tournament will also receive a boost with the addition of English international Simon Mantell. His presence on the field will give the team the stability they had been missing.
The new coach of Mumbai Magicians M.K. Kaushik and his team would be looking to start the season in the right manner, and qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament. The task of reaching the semi-finals is tough but with the additions in the squad, the team is capable of doing that.
In Season Two of the Hero Hockey India League, Mumbai Magicians are likely to miss the wooden spoon and finish 4th in the tournament above UP Wizards and Kalinga Lancers. The team has lots of new faces and the players have not had enough time to play together due to international tournaments. The players are likely to find it difficult to gel with each other in the early stages of the tournament, but with 3-4 games under the belt, we can expect the Mumbai Magicians to start weaving their magic on the field.
OFF FIELD PROMOTION
At a time when all other teams have been aggressively pushing their promotion activities, Mumbai Magicians have been really quite on that front, with no news of the promotion activities coming from the team. This is likely to change once the team starts coming up with good results in the second season.
The following is the Mumbai Magicians team for Hero Hockey India League
Goalkeepers: David Harte and PR Sreejesh
Defenders: Gurjinder Singh, Chandan Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Joel Carroll and Sampath Kumar
Midfielers: VS Vinaya, Vikas Pillay, MB Aiyappa, Ravipal Singh, Razie Rahim, Suresh Toppo, Timothy Deavin and Trent MittonPublished 25 Jan 2014, 13:11 IST