New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) The 4th edition of the Coal India Hockey India League is all set to see a surge of fresh blood adding colour to the richest hockey tournament in the world.
The six-team annual franchise based hockey league, which is scheduled to be played across six venues in India from January 18-February 21, will see promising stars showcase their talent against formidable opponents and some well-established names in world hockey.
One such youngster is 17-year-old Odisha defender Dipsan Tirkey. The vice-captain of the Indian junior team is part of his state based Kalinga Lancers who will begin their campaign against Uttar Pradesh Wizards on January 18.
Dipsan who is yet to make it to the senior team will hope to make a mark in the league where selectors will keep a keen watch on youngsters who might make it to the probables’ list for the Rio Olympics scheduled for later this year.
Another formidable name in the young brigade this year is Dabang Mumbai’s 20-year-old drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh. Harmanpreet, who hails from Punjab, has been retained by Dabang Mumbai on the basis of his stint last year when he not only impressed with his five goals but also for his strong defence.
Forward Arman Qureshi, 21, along with defender Varun Kumar representing Jaypee Punjab Warriors are two youngsters who are expected to turn heads this season.
Arman who has been one of the top scorers for the Indian junior team has shown a lot of mettle in his last outing at Malaysia for the Sultan of Johor Cup 2015 where they finished runners-up, losing to Great Britain in a nail biting finish.
Varun who is in for his second stint along with first timer Arman will be representing the two-time finalists Warriors with the hope of leaving a mark in the selectors mind also for Junior World Cup in December.
Midfielder Harjeet Singh, captain of the Indian junior team and one of the most promising faces, will turn out for 2014 champions Delhi Waveriders.
Harjeet, who was awarded the Player of the Tournament at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia last year, will look forward to a fruitful season this year hoping to impress the selectors who will be on a watch out for fresh faces for the Indian team.
There are also other youngsters who will turn out for Uttar Pradesh Wizards and defending champions Ranchi Rays.