Team focus: Hockey India League - Ranchi Rays
In the wake of a successful campaign last year, hockey’s popularity has resuscitated all around the country. To take this new found resurgence to the next level, Hockey India League 2015 is just round the corner ready to unravel itself. Every fan will be waiting with anticipation to see their hockey stars in action.
Ranchi Rays, previously known as Ranchi Rhinos, will be the first team in action against Kalinga Lancers. Ranchi players would be bubbling with energy especially due to a change at the helm of affairs as their new owner is none other than local hero M.S. Dhoni. Consequently, Ranchi Rays would fancy their chances this time as they would have Dhoni’s Midas touch on their side.
Owner: M.S. Dhoni & Sahara India Pariwar
Head Coach: Harendra Singh
Captain: Ashley Jackson
Home Stadium: Birsa Munda Stadium, Ranchi (Capacity – 5000)
Slogan: ‘Nas Nas Mein Hockey’
|Justin Reid-Ross||Defender||South Africa|
|Austin Smith||Midfielder||South Africa|
|Amon Mirash Tirkey||Forward||India|
|Stanli Victor Minz||Forward||India|
|Nick Wilson||Forward||New Zealand|
A team known for playing possession hockey, they have been head and shoulders over every other team. Without an iota of doubt, team Ranchi has been the most consistent team of HIL. Winning the title in the inaugural year of 2013, they carried their dominance throughout the league phase in 2014 also but came short in the final stages and had to settle for the third position.
Captain Moritz Furste, 2012 FIH World Player of the Year, will be the one pulling the strings in the midfield. England internationals Ashley Jackson and Barry Middleton along with the talented Manpreet Singh would be the other players who would shoulder the midfield responsibility.
Ranchi’s strengths lies in their ability to hold the ball in the middle of the park and frustrate their opponents. Their ball possession has always been superior and they would likely replicate this successful strategy.
The sturdy Justin Reid Ross and the ever-reliable Birendra Lakra would be the mean to keep their defence line tight. Justin, together with Ashley would be in charge of penalty corners.
Ranchi Rays will be relying on their strong defence in the HIL, as emphasized by Rays defender, Birendra Lakra.
Although the forward line of Ranchi Rays looks short in experience but youngsters like Mandeep Singh and Nick Wilson can turn the match any moment with some magical hockey.
The young Mandeep Singh, who scored 10 goals in the first edition of HIL, would be itching to prove his mettle again. New addition Australian Trent Mitton would add further firepower to the team’s forward line.