Waveriders keen to repeat success

Waveriders keen to repeat success

Waveriders keen to repeat success

After two stupendous seasons, defending champions Delhi Waveriders are eager to continue in the same vein and retain their Hockey India League (HIL) title.

The Delhi side, who had finished runners-up in the inaugural year in 2013, have got four new faces in their squad ahead of the 2015 edition. Most notably being the inclusion of South Africa’s Erasmus Pieterse who has been picked in place of star goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi.

Jacobi had to discontinue his association with the Waveriders this year following his prior commitments with the German Hockey Federation. New Zealand’s drag-flick expert Andrew Hayward, who replaces Andres Mirbel, and Indians Gurpreet Singh and Diwakar Ram are the other three inclusions. The team will be led by Sardar Singh.

Coach Cedric D’souza was happy the way his team had shaped up for the tournament. “It is a great blend of young India and international players.  The most important thing that we have is the attitude and team bonding. To maintain the status of title holders is very important to us. With the paucity of time to the start of the event, it is now more about being cerebral than physical,” he said.

"Our vision is to give our best and we are working towards achieving it.”
Waveriders chief mentor Ajit Pal Singh hoped the team would put up even better performances this time. “I want them to perform with the same confidence they have shown in last two years,” he said.

For Pieterse, it will be his maiden stint in HIL and the South African admitted feeling a bit of heat in keeping upto the benchmark set by Jacobi. “He (Jacobi) is one of the best goalkeepers of the world and has been a consistent performer for Delhi. So definitely, there would be a huge pressure on me,” Pieterse said.

The Waveriders also unveiled an audio album of the team created by local band Paddy Boyz. The third edition of HIL starts in Bhubaneswar on Thursday with Kalinga Lancers taking on Ranchi Rhinos.

The Waveriders will be playing their opening match against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Lucknow on Friday. They play their first home match on January 30 against Jaypee Punjab Warriors.