Matches in the Hero Hockey India League have really got exciting with every outing and it has left nobody in doubt that the league has evolved over a period of three years. But amidst all the hype and excitement, players have shown the propensity to cross the ‘line’ in the spur of the moment.
Such unbecoming incidents can often paint a bad picture about the league, which has attained popularity since its inception in 2013.
The participation of the who’s who of world hockey – Jamie Dwyer, Moritz Fuertse, Barry Middleton, Ashley Jackson, Jaap Stockmann, Jeroen Hertzeberger, Mark Knowles, Gonzalo Peillat and Tom Boon has lifted the Hero Hockey India League immensely, but sometimes on-field incidents can cast an ugly shadow on the event.
One has to laud the HIL’s disciplinary committee, who has been quick to react and penalize players. We first saw Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ seasoned Australian defender Mark Knowles abuse an Uttar Pradesh Wizards player during their home game at Mohali and was served a one-match suspension.
The HIL disciplinary committee needed to get the message loud and clear that players won’t get away by getting into verbal/physical duels.
Indian team and Delhi Waveriders captain Sardar Singh became the second player to incur the wrath of HIL’s disciplinary committee. The ace medio was handed a one-match suspension for "inappropriate physical contact” with a Jaypee Punjab Warriors player during their home match in New Delhi and like Mark Knowles had to sit out for one game.
But, the biggest offence came from Indian and Kalinga Lancers’ drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh. The talented drag-flicker assaulted a Jaypee Punjab Warriors player, during their home game in Bhubaneshwar. Gurjinder, who scored the lone goal for the Lancers in that game, was banned for two games.
Clearly, the Hero Hockey India League’s disciplinary committee has set a benchmark, which will keep all players on their toes. Any slightest thought of crossing the ‘line’ and getting away will be the last thing on the players’ minds. If the HIL’s disciplinary committee’s way of reacting to such incidents is anything to go by, hockey is in safe hands.
One hopes the disciplinary committee continues to stamp their authority on such incidents in the upcoming games and ensures the league is free from such unruly player behavior.