Murugappa hockey: HUTN ignored, Chennai XI to be local representative

Generally, the league winners of the Chennai Hockey Association senior division or the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu — HUTN participate. This year, Chennai XI will be the lone local team.

It’s official. Chennai XI will be the lone local team in the MCC-Murugappa All-India invitation hockey tournament to be held here from September 6.

Speaking to Sportstar here on Wednesday, B. Vijaykummar, Secretary of Madras Cricket Club (MCC) said the reason to include Chennai XI was to “give a boost to Chennai hockey.”

All these years, it has been generally been the league winners of the Chennai Hockey Association senior division or the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu — HUTN (in the last two years) participating in the MCC-Murugappa tournament.

“After V. Baskaran, the new president of CHA made a special request, the organising committee decided to give Chennai a chance,” Vijaykumar said.

The move to include Chennai and ignore HUTN has not gone well with the State Association. Renuka Lakshmi, secretary of HUTN, took to the Facebook to express her disappointment. “Feeling sad, HUTN deprived of an entry to play the 92nd All India MCC Murugappa gold cup hockey tournament during September 2018 at Chennai (sic).”

On the other had, Baskaran sounded ecstatic. He said it will be a great opportunity to witness Chennai boys take to the field in a prestigious tournament. The Olympian said there will be a selection cum training camp for the Chennai XI team after August 20 at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium.

He, however, asserted that there is no bar on HUTN players who have played for the State in the previous Nationals to be considered for a place in the Chennai team. “They will definitely be considered,” he said.

Baskaran revealed that S. Thirumalvalavan would be the head coach of Chennai XI.