Action-packed days ahead for hockey

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Indian hockey fans can look forward to some action-packed months starting this December.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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New Delhi:

Indian hockey fans can look forward to some action-packed months starting this December. Besides the Champions Trophy, which starts in Chennai from 10 December, the 2006 edition of Premier Hockey League (PHL) will be held in Chandigarh from 5 January. Names unveiled On Wednesday, Maurits Hendriks, head coach of the Spanish hockey team, and IHF general secretary K Jothikumaran unveiled the names of 11 foreign players from the tier-I teams of PHL. Hendriks also happens to be a consultant with the PHL and is excited at the concept of introducing a third umpire for the first time in the history of the game. Hyderabad Sultans, Sher-e-Jalandhar, Maratha Warriors, Bangalore Hi-Fliers and Chandigarh Dynamos form the premium division of the PHL. But it is doubtful whether the likes of Jorge Lombi, Rehan Butt, Dilip Tirkey, Gagan Ajit Singh will be able to attract the crowds in January, as the matches will directly clash with the Indian cricket team's tour of Pakistan. Ongoing row While everything seems to be in place for the PHL, including its telecast, IHF still has to figure a way out of its ongoing row with Prasar Bharti over the production of next month's Champions Trophy. The federation wanted Doordarshan to produce the feed for the Champions Trophy and provide it to TEN Sports free of cost - an arrangement which the national broadcaster doesn't want to make for obvious reasons. Organisers hope that with the inclusion of more foreign players, introduction of a third umpire and innovations like giving a mike to the on-field umpire will eventually generate more interest in PHL.

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