Expressing excitement for the upcoming Hockey India League (HIL) scheduled to begin from January 14, renowned drag flicker of Indian team Sandeep Singh said that the League would set the tone for giving true status of national game to hockey.
"Despite being the national game, hockey could not enjoy the status, but HIL will definitely promote the game in a big way and enable the game to get the status in the real sense," Singh, who will represent Mumbai Magicians in the tournament, told Hindustan Times.
"Yes, Indian team could not perform well in Olympics but HIL will definitely improve the standard of Indian Hockey, so that we can get the lost ground at international level," he said, adding that with the involvement of foreign players in HIL and rubbing shoulders with them as teammate will provide an opportunity to Indian players to improve their skills, which will be beneficial in the international tournaments.
"Top international coaches hired by team owners will give players an opportunity to polish their skills and enable them to learn from their seniors", he added.
It is first time that players would get such a huge amount for playing hockey, which will attract the budding players to sweat out hard for the game and to make their career bright, drag flicker Sandeep, who is one of the costly players of HIL, said.
With grand publicity campaign planned for HIL, like cricketers, hockey players are also expected to emerge as sports icons, he said.
However, Sandeep preferred to evade any query on the friction between Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India and said that Hockey India will definitely emerge as one of the richest hockey association in the world, which will ultimately benefit the players and game as well.