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We will be difficult team to beat: Punjab Warriors coach
The countdown for the Hockey India League has started with the competition being just six days away. Five franchises - Punjab Warriors, Ranchi Rhinos, Mumbai Magicians, Delhi Wave Riders, and Uttar Pradesh Wizards would fight it out for the title.

SOME TEAMS have already started practising in full swing to get in terms with the weather and co-players. One such team is Punjab Warriors, who kicked off their training yesterday (Monday) at Jalandhar’s Surjeet Singh stadium.

The team during practice looked all pumped up and excited for the competition. The practice session took off in the presence of their Head Coach, Barry Dancer, along with other well known Indian former players such as Jagbir Singh and Mohammad Riaz, both of whom were former Indian captains.

Sounding confident, Barry Dancer said his team would be tough to beat. “This was the first day we practised as a team and I am pleased to see that the team is bonding well considering we have players from different countries and cultures. We discussed the field plan and different formations, and I can confidently say we will be a tough opponent to beat in the upcoming league,” Dancer said.

There are a number of top class players that have been signed by the franchise, which is owned by the Jaypee Group. During the auctions held last month, they were able to make some good signings with a good blend of international as well as Indian stars. Some of the key internationals players for Punjab would be Jamie Dwyer, Mark Knowles and Simon Orchard from Australia, Jaap Stockmann from Netherlands and Roder Padros from Spain. Indian stars such as Shivendra Singh, Gaganpreet Singh and Ignace Tirkey are going to hold the key if they are to turn out triumphant in the cash-rich league.

Shivendra Singh after having trained with such international stars felt that the youngsters would benefit a lot from the league. He said, “It was a great experience to see so many national and international players playing together. I am sure the young players, particularly those from Punjab, will benefit tremendously by playing with so many talented players and the best of training facilities.”

Another foreign import, Jaap Stockmann said, "It is a very fulfilling experience to practise with such a versatile team and under the guidance of stalwarts of Hockey.”

The competition is going to be top notch as all the teams in the league comprise top Indian and international stars. The competition is going to last for around 25 days.

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