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HIL 2017: Sardar Singh Confident of Winning India's Premier Hockey Tournament

After guiding Punjab Warriors to their maiden Hockey India League (HIL) title in 2016, captain Sardar Singh is aiming for another spectacular show in the 2017 season and believes the defending champions can lift the trophy once again.

Amit Kumar | News18 Sportsamitkumar104

Updated:January 20, 2017, 3:34 PM IST
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HIL 2017: Sardar Singh Confident of Winning India's Premier Hockey Tournament
Image Credit: HIL.
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New Delhi: After guiding Punjab Warriors to their maiden Hockey India League (HIL) title in 2016, captain Sardar Singh is aiming for another spectacular show in the 2017 season and believes the defending champions can lift the trophy once again.

Punjab Warriors clinched their Hockey India League title in the fourth edition of the six-team tournament at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium beating Kalinga Lancers 6-1 in the summit clash.

"The best thing is that there is not much change in the team. Apart from a couple of changes, the management decided to retain the same winning squad which will be good for us. We know each other well and won’t take much time to adjust. We will go with the same strategy as we followed in the last season," Sardar Singh told News18.com in an exclusive interview.

"Our main aim will be winning the title once again. We have plans in our mind and we want to execute those on the field," a confident captain said.

The Punjab Warriors have a good mix of experienced international players like Armaan Qureshi, Matt Gohdes, Satbir Singh and Moritz Fuerste and the team will be coached by the the seasoned Australian instructor Barry Dancer. Sardar, who recently gave up captaincy of the Indian national team, is confident of yet another good show.

"We have experienced players in the squad. Mark Knowles, Matt Gohdes, Robert van der Horst are the players who can change the game at any point of time. We have two youngsters – Ajit Kumar Pandey and Hardik Singh - who have recently won the Junior World Cup. They are keen to do well in the league. We have an experienced Australian coach Barry Dancer."

"The team is ready. All we want is to go and perform. I am sure we will win this season too," the Padma Shri awardee said.

Punjab Warriors will open their HIL 2017 campaign against Dabang Mumbai on January 27 and Sardar Singh knows that the Mumbai outfit has the players to upset the defending champions.

"Every team is strong in the league. All have star players. We are the defending champions and pressure will be on us to defend the title. We want to take one game at one time."

On being asked how HIL is helping young players, Sardar said: "Hockey India League is a great platform for youngsters. Star players and coaches from all over the world participate in the HIL. Our players get the chance to interact with them and learn the various aspects of the sport."

"When you compete with big stars, you learn a lot," he said.

| Edited by: Arnab Sen
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