Hockey India League 2014: Uttar Pradesh Wizards – Team preview

Author : vishal kungwani

After finishing 3rd in the inaugural edition of Hero Hockey India League last year, Lucknow based franchise Uttar Pradesh Wizards are all set to start this season of the professional field hockey tournament with a bang.

Hero HIL 2014, which starts from January 25 will see the addition of one new team in the form of Kalinga Lancers (Bhubaneshwar). So this time the competition will be much tougher as a total of six teams will battle it out for the prestigious Hero HIL trophy.

Uttar_Pradesh_Wizards_Logo

TEAM OVERVIEW

OWNER- Sahara India Pariwaar

HEAD COACH- Roelant Oltmans

ASSISTANT COACH- Hans Streeder

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR- Dhanraj Pillay

MANAGER- Maneck Kotwal

CAPTAIN- V.R. Raghunath

HOME STADIUM- Dhyan Chand AstroTurf Stadium, Lucknow (capacity-10,000)

TEAM COMPOSITION :-

PLAYER NAME POSITION COUNTRY
George Bazeley Goal Keeper Australia
Sreenivasa Rao Katharu Goal  Keeper India
Kumar Subramanium Goal Keeper Malaysia
Jeroen Hertzberger Forward Netherlands
P.L Thimmanna Forward India
Nitin Thimmaiah Forward India
S.K Uthappa Forward India
Teun De Nooijer Forward Netherlands
Tushar Khandeker Forward India
Edward Ockenden Midfield Australia
David Alegre Midfield Spain
Pradeep Mor Midfield India
Harjeet Singh Midfield India
Sander Baart Midfield India
Rocky Lohchab Midfield India
Vivek Dhar Midfield India
Siddharth Shanker Midfield India
Luke Doerner Defender Australia
Harbir Singh Defender India
V.R Raghunath  (Captain) Defender India
Marcel Balkestein Defender Netherlands
Wouter Jolie Defender Netherlands

 

ABOUT THE CAPTAIN

VR-Raghunath-With-Ball

Penalty corner specialist Vokkaliga Ramachandra Raghunath or simply V.R Raghunath was bought by the Uttar Pradesh franchise for USD 76,000. He captained his team to a third place finish in the inaugural season of the Hero Hockey India League.

Raghunath, who was named the ’Best Player of the Tournament’ in the Asia Cup 2013, ended the opening season of HIL scoring 9 goals in 14 games.

Having the experience of playing 148 International matches, Raghunath will be one of the biggest threats for all the other teams in HIL 2014.

PERFORMANCE IN 2013

Uttar Pradesh WIzards had an average first season as they finished 3rd out of the five teams by winning six games out of 14 with a total winning percentage of 42.86.

By finishing 3rd in the league phase the Wizards team qualified for the semifinal stage but were unfortunate as they lost to eventual champions Ranchi Rhinos 2-4.

They however defeated the Jaypee Punjab Warriors 4-3 in the 3rd-4th place classification match.

KEY PLAYERS

There are a number of match winners in the U.P Wizards team but their key players include the captain and P.C specialist Raghunath, Dutch hockey legend and forward Teun De Nooijer, Indian forward S.K. Uthappa, Australian midfielder Edward Ockenden, Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramanium and defenders Harbir Singh and Marcel Balkestein.

Other important players who will be very beneficial for the Wizards team are striker Tushar Khandekar and Aussie defender Luke Doerner; both these players have a vast experience of playing at the international level.

PREDICTION

With a  perfect combination of experienced campaigners and young guns, U.P Wizards team can finish in the top two of the tournament.

SCHEDULE OF UTTAR PRADESH WIZARDS

Match No

Day & Date

Time (IST)

Home Team

Away Team

Venue

2

Sunday 26 January

18:00

Ranchi Rhinos

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Ranchi

6

Wednesday 29 January

20:00

Dabur Mumbai Magicians

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Mumbai

9

Saturday 1 February

15:00

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Ranchi Rhinos

Lucknow

11

Sunday 2 February

15:00

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Jaypee Punjab Warriors

Lucknow

14

Wednesday 5 February

20:00

Delhi Waveriders

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Delhi

17

Saturday 8 February

15:00

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Delhi Waveriders

Lucknow

19

Sunday 9 February

15:00

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Kalinga Lancers

Lucknow

23

Thursday 13 February

20:00

Kalinga Lancers

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Bhubaneswar

25

Saturday 15 February

18:00

Jaypee Punjab Warriors

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Mohali

29

Tuesday 18 February

15:00

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Dabur Mumbai Magicians

Lucknow