Coach happy about India colts' AHL exposure

"This is the first time we are getting such an opportunity. The Australian Hockey League is the toughest league in the world; it is tougher than the Dutch league. All the top Australian senior and junior players will be take part in it," said Indian junior hockey team coach Harendra Singh.

Coach Harendra Singh believes his wards will get valuable experience playing in the Australian Hockey League.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Indian junior hockey team coach Harendra Singh is upbeat that his boys will rub shoulders with some of the best players in the world when they participate in the Australian Hockey League (AHL) to be held at the Perth hockey Stadium from September 29 to October 9.

Hockey Australia (HA) on Thursday announced that the Indian juniors’ side would be part of the 12-team AHL for men. The other teams in the league would be Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Malaysian Tigers, Malaysian Blues and New Zealand Futures.

Welcoming the development, Harendra said this would help the boys mature sooner than later in the run-up to the Junior World Cup to be held in India later this year.

“This is the first time we are getting such an opportunity. The AHL is the toughest league in the world; it is tougher than the Dutch league. All the top Australian senior and junior players will be take part in it. Since the Aussies play in full pace, it will be a good learning experience for our boys while building up for the Junior World Cup,” said Harendra.

The Indian junior side recently played seven matches during its England tour, winning five and losing two. Harendra drew positives from such an exposure.

“Recently our boys played against the Scotland men’s team, which is preparing for the World League Stage 1, during the trip to England. Next they will play in Australia and then in Valencia. These exposures will help them mature quickly. As coaches we will also get some insight about our players,” he said.