Hyderabad to host National Championships

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/footballer.jpg' class='caption'> Last month, the new glamour doll of Indian hockey, the PHL dazzled the country with hockey played live under floodlights.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:50 IST
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Last month, the new glamour doll of Indian hockey, the Premier Hockey League dazzled the country with hockey played live under floodlights and innovations like four quarters and time-outs. Hyderabad now plays host to PHL's poor cousin, the National Hockey Championship that is being resurrected after four years. But unlike the PHL, the Nationals offer no prize money. While the PHL ran up a bill of nearly Rs 3 crores, the Nationals will cost less than 20 per cent of that amount. "The Nationals cannot match up to the PHL. It can be like a professional league only if sponsors come in," said Mukesh Kumar, former captain, Indian Hockey Team. The bright side But the big attraction of the PHL was the presence of several foreign players. Both Indian players and coaches admitted to having benefitted from playing alongside the likes of Sohail Abbas and Wasim Ahmed. With 51 teams in the fray, the Championship presents an unwieldly picture. Organisers however hope some talent will be spotted, which could add to the country's bench strength. "You will see the budding players who are going to be the future of the game.''Umesh Kumar, President, HHA. The Nationals have lost a bit of sheen with Indian captain Dilip Tirkey staying away because of injury. And if the fans also decide to stay away, then it will indeed mean adding insult to injury.

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