Top 5 flops of Hero Hockey India League
Teun De Nooijer: The $60,000 signing for Uttar Pradesh Wizards panned out to be a big disappointment not just for his team but for the Indian hockey lovers as well. The celebrated Dutch striker with more than 400 international appearances was carrying the weight of expectations, but simply couldn’t quite live up to it. Save for occasional flashes of brilliance, which saw him engineer a few penalty corners for the Wizards, Nooijer cut a sorry figure. Maybe the fact that he is on the wrong side of thirty could also be a factor for his below par showing in the HIL.
Tushar Khandker: The UP lad, who needed a solid performance in the HIL to merit a comeback to the national team after being omitted from the side after the disastrous London Olympics, flopped big time. Tushar hardly spent enough time in the pitch and when coach Roelant Oltmans put him in action, he looked a guy low on morale and confidence. It is possible that Oltmans didn’t inspire much confidence in Tushar. Hockey lovers would feel that Tushar lost out on a great opportunity to impress the selectors.
Glenn Turner: The robust striker has been a great servant of Australian hockey for many years. But as a striker for Mumbai Magicians, Turner was failed to inspire his side, which was banking heavily on him to score. Mumbai didn’t have the luxury of having too many quality forwards in their ranks, which meant that Turner had to find the goals on a consistent basis. In the end, his three goals never really helped his side as drag-flicker Sandeep Singh slammed 11 goals from his short corners to ensure Mumbai at least appear competitive on the pitch. Turner’s poor form was largely responsible for the Magicians’ forward line looking pedestrian.
Yuvraj Walmiki: The twitter boy of Indian hockey seems to be suffering from a crisis of confidence. Delhi Waveriders never fielded him for a lengthy period and one is not sure whether he was carrying any injury or not. Playing alongside a host of talented strikers, Yuvraj, who is no less talented himself, failed to set the HIL on fire. Should feel disappointed with the way the HIL turned out for him.
Faizal Saari: The nippy Malaysian forward was high on confidence going into the Hero Hockey India League after an impressive showing in the second Asian Champions Trophy in Doha. But the diminutive striker was a big let-down for the Mumbai Magicians. One is not sure whether Saari got overawed by the occasion or whether coach Ric Charlesworth gave him adequate enough playing time on the pitch as the rolling substitution rule can sometimes affect a player’s rhythm.