Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles has believed that Indian national team is now improving and Hockey India League should be given credit for this. He said over the past years India has performed well in different series like Champions Trophy, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. He feels that India needs to play more hockey on regular basis with some great national teams.
Mark Knowles said, “The Indian team is getting better and better with every passing day. In the last couple of years they have become stronger. They won the Asian Games, won silver at the Commonwealth Games and finished fourth at the Champions Trophy. But what I feel is that they need to play more consistently, they need to play more compact at the higher level.”
Knowles also believed that hockey india league was a vital tournament for national side to qualify for the Rio Olympics. He said, “But what was crucial for the league was India’s qualification for the Rio Olympics. It was an important part for the sustainability of the league because it means there will be more fan following, more sponsors and support for league.”
He also said that we Australians are benefitted too in participating in the HIL. The league is popular in Australia is well and we are keen to play in competition always.
Mark said, “The HHIL is very popular back home in Australia. There are about 21-22 Australian players who are playing in the league, so every match is keenly followed back home. There is a lot of support back home for the league.”
“We (Australia) fielded a very young side in the Test series against India and a mixed team in the Champions Trophy. Some of the seniors like me were given rest to manage our injuries. So our transition isn’t very big one. We beat Netherlands in the World Cup final 6-1 so any team who can win 6-1 in the World Cup final is definitely a top team,” he added.
In upcoming Hockey India League Mark Knowles is eager to defeat the defending champions Delhi Waveriders in the tournament. He plays for Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the HIL 2015 and last year DWR beat JPW to win the tournament. He said, “Honestly, I can’t take a name but looking at the last two year’s performances, I feel (defending champions) Delhi Waveriders will be the team to beat.”