Australia captain Jamie Dwyer and India star centre-half Sardar Singh were unveiled on Tuesday as the brand ambassadors of the Hockey India League, which is scheduled to start on January 5.
Hockey India secretary-general and the league's chairman Narinder Batra said he was excited to have two of the world's best players as the face of the six-team league.
“It is an immense honour for Hockey India League to have players of the calibre of Jamie Dwyer and Sardar Singh as brand ambassadors. We are moving full speed towards establishing Hockey India League as the world’s biggest hockey league," said Batra.
The enormous interest among players, both at home and overseas, should give everyone a fair idea about the quality of contests that we will see in the Hockey India League. The league will help players across the world and raise the standard of our game,” he added.
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla, who is on the advisory council of the league, said it was significant that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has created a window for the league. “It is our collective responsibility to ensure hockey regains space in the collective consciousness of the nation,” he said.
The 33-year-old Dwyer said it was a privilege for him to be a part of the league. “I have always enjoyed playing in India and have looked to make hockey an attractive proposition for the youngsters. Hockey India League is an excellent step in that direction not only for the Indian players but also for those from elsewhere,” he said.
As for Sardar, he felt humble at being given the enormous responsibility of being a brand ambassador. “From the Indian players’ perspective, I can say that on the one hand the league promises to ensure financial security while on the other, many young Indian players will get great exposure playing with and against some of the world’s best hockey players,” he said.
Sahara India, Jaypee Group, Patel-Uniexcel Group and Wave Group have already taken up the Lucknow, Punjab, Ranchi and Delhi franchises of the league. The names of the other two franchisees will be made known well before next month’s players auction.