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Pillay likely to play in PHL

By Our Sports Reporter

HYDERABAD, JAN. 11. Dhanraj Pillay will, in all probability, play in the Premier Hockey League (PHL) set to commence at the Gachibowli Complex near here from January 13, according to Viren Rasquinha captain of Maratha Warriors.

Speaking after the unveiling of the PHL Trophy by the five Tier I captains in the league, Viren said that he was confident that the mercurial centre-forward Pillay would make it to the league.

Commenting on his team composition Dilip Tirkey, captain of Hyderabad Sultans, refused to acknowledge that it was given a raw deal in selection. "This is only the beginning of a wonderful format. And whoever has been picked has plenty of talent and it will be good for them to come out with flying colours under testing circumstances," he said. Tirkey also emphasised that hockey lovers would be of assured of intense competition. "I wish to reiterate that this is going to evolve into a real crowd-puller in the coming years," he remarked.

Star forward Gagan Ajit Singh, captain of Sher-e-Jallandhar, also expressed confidence that the league could well be the beginning of a new chapter for Indian hockey at the international level. "This concept which ensures high-level of competition is the best thing to have happened to Indian hockey in recent times," he added.

Meanwhile, the organisers have named the five Tier II teams. In Tier II, Rajneesh Mishra will lead Lucknow Nawabs, Chandigarh Dynamos will be led by Sukhbir Singh Gill, Brojen Singh is the captain of Imphal Rangers, Anurag Raghuvansi will lead Delhi Dazzlers while Iqbal Singh heads the Bengal Tigers.

There will be two Tier II matches each day on the last four days of the week and will commence at 1.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. While all Tier I matches will be telecast live on Star Sports, some of the matches in Tier II will have deferred telecast on the same channel.

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