Former Australian hockey player Barry Dancer believes the upcoming Hockey India League (HIL) would provide an opportunity to young domestic players to showcase their talent and help the country regain its past glory in the sport.
The 60-year-old Dancer, who is the coach of Jaypee Punjab Warriors team in the HIL, is confident of a positive impact of the event on India's future performances.
"Hockey India has taken a significant step by organising a league. This would help youngsters as they would learn from other senior players from different countries. In two to three years time, not only India but other countries would also benefit from this league," Dancer said told reporters during an event on Tuesday.
Dancer is of the opinion that hockey as sport has lost charm in India, a country which has eight Olympic gold to its credit.
"Hockey in countries like Holland, Germany and India was known as the national sport but it's no more a national game here," the former Australian coach said.
The Punjab coach was upbeat about his team's performance in the HIL and said they have a mix of youth and experience in their squad.
"We have a balanced squad. You will get to see both Asian as well as European style of hockey from our team," he said.
Former India captain Jagbir Singh, who is the manager of Punjab team, said star mid-fielder Sardara Singh was first in their priority list but they could not afford him during the HIL players' auction.
"First thing Barry (Dancer) has asked was to pick Sardara Singh but we could not buy him considering his high auction price," the Olympian said.
Asked about their decision to pick six Australian players out of quota of eight foreign players, Jagbir said they are banking on those players' co-ordination and experience of playing together.