The players, including former skipper Arjun Halappa and CWG and Asian Games medalist Ravi Pal, who left the national camp last year to play in the rebel World Series of Hockey (WSH) league organised by the Indian Hockey Federation, will get a chance to be a part of the second season of the official Hockey India League.
The fresh season of the cash-rich tournament is scheduled to be held in January-February.
“The players approached us and showed their willingness to play in the HIL. Looking into their potential and future prospects, we are considering them for the mini-auction to be held in October,” Narinder Batra, HI general secretary, told HT.
They included former India forward Prabhjot Singh.
Although no WSH player was considered for HIL’s inaugural edition early this year, the federation later allowed them to play in the national championship.
Apart from providing a window to the existing five HIL franchises for transfer of players and to fill their vacant slots, there is most likely to be an addition of a sixth franchise — in all probability a Bangalore-based team. In that case, quite a few players are expected to be bought in the October auction.
The WSH players who have now signed up with HIL for the auction have been given the opportunity to set their base price between $5600-15000 (R3.54 lakh-R9.48 lakh approx).
“It’s a good decision by HI as many youngsters had joined the WSH league, and they have a good number of years of hockey left in them. Performing well in the HIL will give them an opportunity to be a part of the national squad,” said Olympian and former selector, Col Balbir Singh.
Till date only Gurjinder Singh, who was adjudged the best player of the WSH league, has been considered for the national squad.
And allowing WSH players into HIL seems to be the first step before the doors to the national squad are thrown open for them.