22 Jul 2011

Hockey's version of the IPL set for India

12:39 pm on 22 July 2011

A franchise-based hockey competition similar to the successful Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament will be held in India in December.

The eight-team World Series Hockey, a joint venture of the Indian Hockey Federation and Nimbus Sport, will start on December the 15th and feature 176 players, including 40 foreigners from top hockey-playing nations like Australia.

Hockey India and IHF are currently locked in a tussle to run the game in the country, but organisers said the players were cleared to take part in the series following meetings with the sport's world governing body, the FIH.

There was no immediate comment from the FIH, which has recognised HI as the parent body and earlier refused permission to hold the tournament.

Among prominent foreign players participating in the 61-match tournament are Australian Brent Livermore, Pakistan's Rehan Butt, former Spain captain Rodrigo Garza and Argentina's Lucas Vila.

The matches will be held in Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, with two more venues to be announced.

The IPL revolutionised cricket when it burst onto the scene in 2008 with a high-octane blend of international star players, cheerleaders and Bollywood glamour.