If the Pakistan players are not allowed to participate, it does not mean that the HIL will come to a standstill, as there are 24 players in each squad that have been signed by each franchise, but their absence will certainly be felt. Devesh Chauhan, an Olympian in Hockey said, “Even if the Pakistani players do not play in the tournament, it won’t be affected much. Teams have players from other countries as well.”
Players from other countries such as Netherlands, England, New Zealand, Malaysia, Germany etc have signed for different franchises. Teams like Mumbai will be worst hit as they have the maximum number of Pakistan players.
Halappa believes that Pakistani players after the turn of yesterday's episode might be little afraid. When asked whether it would affect the tournament, he said: “Hockey Indian League will be successful, whether the Pakistan players play or not.”
But, one has to understand that it is the Indian fans that are going to miss the Pakistan players such as Imran Butt, Shafqat Rasool and Rashid Mehmood. Pakistanis are seen among the best players of hockey around the world, who use their hockey stick like magic wands.
The protests by Shiv Sena against the participation of Pak players have been organized in the backdrop of killing of two Indian soldiers at the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu at the hands of Pakistani soldiers. They have made it clear that they won’t allow the Pak players to play in Mumbai when Mumbai Magicians take on Punjab in the city on January 20.
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