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HIL experience will benefit youngsters: Ric

Mumbai: Australian coach Ric Charlesworth on Wednesday said that the teams in the Hockey India League may find the hectic schedule difficult to cope with, but his side will have an advantage with many youngsters.

“When there were six franchises, there were only 10 games. It was better. It is more difficult now because we play and travel for the whole time. That is a difficult ask. Maybe it’s an advantage of having a young squad. We have a very young squad, hopefully that will work for us,” said the Aussie who will coach the Mumbai Magicians in January 14 - February 10 HIL.

Charlesworth said that franchise-based IPL-style event has the potential to do wonders for Indian hockey. “This tournament offers some of the young Indian players to rub shoulders with some of the best in the world. Getting the experience for them that will only benefit the game locally,” he said.

“This tournament will be interesting because you are tested by having to use your full squad and plus the quality of the reserve players that is critical,” he added.        

Meanwhile, former captain Bharat Chetri insists he is not finished yet and there is plenty of fire in his belly to make another comeback.

Following India’s disastrous last-place finish in London, Chetri and a host of seniors including Sandeep Singh, Tushar Khandekar and Shivendra Singh were sidelined.

“I have gone through such a phase many times in my 12-year-long career, but every time I was dropped it made me more determined. I made successful comebacks every time I was dropped and this is no different,” Chetri said.

“I am not yet finished. If I give my 100 per cent I can always return to the side.”