Punjab Warriors release Dwyer, retain Knowles, Sunil 

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) Hockey India League (HIL) franchise Jaypee Punjab Warriors on Tuesday retained the services of talismanic Australian captain Mark Knowles and Indian star striker S.V. Sunil for the next two editions but released five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer and Sandeep Singh.

The two-time finalists also extended the contracts of two other Aussies Christopher Ciriello and Jake Whetton along with home grown talents Satbir Singh and Varun Kumar.

Knowles, who was re-employed for $65,000, is a key member of the team’s defence while drag-flicker Ciriello ($42,500) is among the core group of players who have been with the team since the first season. Whetton will receive $40,000.

Sunil will receive $50,000 and brings experience and guile to the forward line while youngsters Satbir ($45,000) and Varun ($10,000) will benefit from his presence.

Warriors reached the finals of the 2014 and 2015 HILs but lost to Delhi Waveriders and Ranchi Rays respectively.

However, the Chandigarh-based side released 36-year-old Dwyer. Even though the Australian legend is active but his fitness does not generate enough confidence. Apart from him, experienced Australians — Kieran Govers and Simon Orchard — and Argentines Lucas Rey and Agustin Mazzilli will have to enlist themselves in the auction if they want to play in the HIL 2016.

“We are very proud to have the players in the last season retained. The players, which we have retained for the next two seasons, belong to the core group of the team and their experience is invaluable to us,” coach Jagbir Singh said in a statement on Monday.

“We will build a new team around them and their presence will help the new players to adjust with our style of game.”

Sunil was equally delighted to have extended the association.

“I am happy to be part of this wonderful team and very motivated as they have retained me. This shows their faith in my abilities and skills. I am glad to know that Christopher Ciriello, Mark Knowles and Jacob Whetton will remain with the team as their contributions to the team are immense,” Sunil said.

“Having Satbir and Varun in the team will help the team’s core strategy of attacking game.”

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