Trouble brewing over player release

The IHF is going all out in promoting the lucrative WSH -- organised by Nimbus and due to be held across various venues in the country from December 17, 2011 to January 22, 2012 -- much to the consternation of the National coach Michal Nobbs, who feels the event will upset the preparation of the Indian team for important upcoming events.

It is learnt from sources that national coach Michael Nobbs and exercise physiologist David John have written a letter to the Sports Authority of India, stating that releasing players for the event will severely hamper the nation’s chances in the Olympic qualifiers to be held from February 12-27.

During the two national camps in Bangalore in July-August, the Australian had clearly expressed his displeasure over the timing of the event, stating that it is completely ridiculous to schedule the event so close to the Olympic Qualifiers. “Nearly 40 days of continuous hockey just ahead of the qualifiers would burn out the players. There is no way on earth I am going to allow my players. I need them to be practising hard as a team. We are way behind schedule, and every minute is important,” he had said.

According to sources, SAI has written to the Sports Ministry saying that players need not be released for the WSH and they need to concentrate on the preparation for the Olympic qualifiers.

WSH, meanwhile, on Wednesday announced that Olympics and World Cup winning Australia team captain Brent Livermore and 17 other players from South Korea, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand are all set to join them.

Apart from Livermore, other stars from Australia -- Joseph Reardon, Peter Kelly, Robert Green, Mathew Phillips -- will also head to India for the five-week competition.

Casey Henwood and Lloyd Stephenson from New Zealand, Jiwa Mohan from Malaysia, and South Korea’s Sung Min have also signed up for the WSH. Some of the Indian stars who are likely to be seen in action during the series include  Dhanraj Pillay, Rajpal Singh, Sandeep Singh, Adrian D'Souza, Sardar Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Arjun Halappa, Diwakar Ram, Bharat Chetri, Dhananjay Mahadik, Shivendra Singh, Mandeep Antil, SV Sunil, Roshan Minz, William Xalxo, Prabodh Tirkey and Yuvraj Walmiki.

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