India: ‘Hockey India League will play an important role in talent identification’, says former Indian dragflick icon VR Raghunath

~The Hockey India League 2024-2025 will feature 8 Men’s and 6 Women’s Teams~


New Delhi, 27th June 2024: The Hockey India League (HIL) is set to return after a 7-year-long hiatus. The league will feature 8 Men’s and 6 Women’s Teams. Hockey India has also invited players from the top 15 hockey-playing nations to register their players and support staff for the season which will be held in the window sanctioned by FIH; the last week of December 2024 to the first week of February 2025.


Speaking about the importance and the revival of the Hockey India League, former Indian defender and dragflick icon VR Raghunath believes that the league will play a crucial role in talent identification and at the same time will also help the domestic players to showcase their skills to the selectors. He said, “Hockey India League was one of the best leagues in the hockey circuit. I am excited to see all the domestic and foreign players getting involved in Hockey India League. We will have an opportunity to see a fantastic mix of top-quality players playing in one team. I am looking forward to the thrilling action.”

jb1gejMMSU - India: ‘Hockey India League will play an important role in talent identification’, says former Indian dragflick icon VR Raghunath - ~The Hockey India League 2024-2025 will feature 8 Men’s and 6 Women’s Teams~

“Most of our younger players will have an opportunity to prove themselves by putting up splendid performances. Each player dreams of playing for his country. So, I think the Hockey India League will play a major role in identifying the talent for the national team and at the same time it will also be good exposure for them. Players like Manpreet Singh, and Harmanpreet Singh, were picked up from Hockey India League. This is a platform for the domestic players to showcase their skills. The domestic players also will benefit financially as well. Several young players will be brushing their shoulders with top-quality international players from Europe, Australia, and South America. So, that will be great. It will be an opportunity for them to understand how top players play and how they think about the game and the work that goes into it,” he added.

Notably, this is the first time in the history of the sport that an exclusive women’s HIL will be hosted simultaneously, underlining the federation’s vision to promote women’s hockey and subsequently increase the talent pool of women hockey players in India.


Sharing his thoughts on the same, the 35-year-old said, “The Women’s team has been doing good for the past few years. The Hockey India League will be a great motivation for the players. Through HIL, young players who don’t have much access to hockey will get a chance to showcase their skills and impress the selectors.”


In the auction of the inaugural Hockey India League, Raghunath was bought by the Uttar Pradesh team for US$76,000. The team was named Uttar Pradesh Wizards. He captained the team to a third-place finish in the inaugural season. He finished the first season having scored 9 goals in 14 games and the second season scoring 8 goals in 12 games.


Recalling his playing days in the HIL, the dragflicker said, “I was very lucky to play in the HIL with some top players. I used to watch their games closely and spent time with them discussing the game. The time I spent with them off the field increased my confidence. I understood how they handled the pressure and what training they did, how they ate, sleep. It was a great experience for me. It was a cultural exchange.”


“The players who played with me were internationally renowned. It was very exciting and a new challenge for me. To play in the same team with their mindset and take their suggestions. I really liked and enjoyed the pressure and the quality of the game. I personally learned a lot from other European players insights like how to handle pressure in crunch games, what kind of skills to use and when, game planning, among many other learnings,” he signed off.



Deadline: 30th June 2024

By Hockey India

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

SanFair Newsletter

The latest on what’s moving world – delivered straight to your inbox
Verified by MonsterInsights