Lucknow: Argentine star drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat says the beauty of playing in the Hockey India League (HIL) lies in the challenge of fitting into a team in a short span of time, apart from the financial benefits.
The Rio Olympic champion on Tuesday felt that players from varied countries and cultures come together and train as a team hardly 10 days prior to the start of the cash-rich league. It takes a lot from the coach to put together a team keeping the balance factor in mind and accordingly, the players also needed to make a lot of adjustments.
The Uttar Pradesh Wizards player emphasized that it's not always about the monetary gains the Coal India HIL offers but it's also a great platform to learn different tactics adopted by different foreign players.
"I was 21 when I played my first Coal India HIL (in 2014). Every player comes with different ideas and tactics to play. It can be challenging for a coach to make a team in a short time but as a player we also adapt to these changes in a short span and that I feel is the beauty of the tournament," the 24-year-old said in a release.
"Personally, for me, I could learn a lot at a young age from the Coal India HIL which I believe has contributed to my game as I feel I am a more matured player today. I really like the format of the Coal India HIL and I wish to play it for the rest of my career," the 2014 World Junior Player of the Year stated.
He also spoke about the benefits of playing in a professional league such as the HIL. "For Argentinian players it is really important because it is the only way to get financial benefits and it inspires players to be more professional," said the drag-flick expert who was part of Argentina's bronze medal winning team in the 2014 World Cup.
The Argentinian defender will be seen playing for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards alongside the likes of V.R. Raghunath, P.R. Sreejesh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Sander Baart from the Netherlands and Rio Olympics silver medal winning team Belgium's Arthur van Doren, amongst other players.
"I like to play with different top international players and learn which tactics they might use to be better or beat the opponents," he added.
At this year's Coal India HIL, Gonzalo is looking forward to play alongside Australia's Edward Ockenden and his compatriot Agustin Mazzilli. "I'm looking forward to play with Eddie Ockenden, I think he is a great player. I would also like to play with Agustin Mazzilli because I know him from the Argentina national team and he is a good friend of mine", he said.
"I would also like to play and learn from Australia's Mark Knowles (with Jaypee Punjab Warriors) someday. I love how he plays and I watch his game closely."