Dabang Mumbai retain defender Harmanpreet, release striker Boon

Mumbai, Aug 12 (IANS) Hockey India League (HIL) franchise Dabang Mumbai retained Indian defender Harmanpreet Singh, Irish goalkeeper David Harte and Australian defender Jeremy Hayward but released Belgian forward Tom Boon from its squad for the next two editions of the tournament on Wednesday.

Boon was regarded as the biggest catch last season when the franchisee bought him for $103,000. Mumbai had the option of retaining three Indians and an equal number of foreign recruits but they chose to retain only two foreigners and a sole home grown player.

Harmanpreet will receive $51,000 for his association while Hayward will get $46,000 and Harte $65,000.

“Realising, that denying the opponents easy goals would be the key, the franchisee has retained the core group of defence. All the three players worked in complete harmony to ensure that the penalty corners were converted and the goal post remained protected by the strong line of defence,” said a Mumbai release on Wednesday.

Last season, while all eyes were on Boon to come out and deliver, it was the young Harmanpreet who played a crucial role in the team’s campaign.

Young Irish goalkeeper Harte, who was bought by the franchisee last season, proved his worth under the bar. Thanks to his quick reflexes, he went on to save many goals for his side.

“It was a well deliberated decision keeping in mind the contributions of all the three retained players from last season. Each player adds a unique element to the team composition,” Dabang Mumbai’s strategic advisor and mentor Viren Rasquinha said in the statement.

“The decision to retain me showcases Mumbai’s trust in my capabilities on the field. This is a huge motivation for me and I am aiming to take my game a step higher and will give my best for the team,” Harmanpreet said.

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