New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) Mumbai Magicians goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh believes that the Hockey India League (HIL) will be beneficial for the growth of the sport.
Sreejesh said the five-team league, that will be played in five cities Jan 14-Feb 11, will also help the players, coaches, fans and sponsors.
"The Hero Hockey India League will take us to a new level. Both players and coaches will gain a lot from the league," Sreejesh said in an interview.
"The League will surely improve our physical and mental skills. All the teams have world-class players and coaches, and they will apply their experience to bring high-level tactics on the field. The matches will be intense and that will improve our game."
The 25-year-old goalkeeper feels that players and coaches will get enough opportunities to sharpen their skills.
"Players will get an opportunity to play under some of the best coaches, learn new skills and tactics. We, especially juniors, will gain lots of experience by playing with top players. Coaches, on the other hand, will get a good chance to study various players and utilise the knowledge to build national teams for next year's FIH World Cup," Sreejesh said.
After the disappointment of finishing last in the 2012 Olympics, Sreejesh said the league is a New Year gift.
"This is the best event to start 2013 and I am looking forward to it this year. I am sharpening my skills for the upcoming international matches and this League will give me a decent chance to improve myself. I am very happy and proud to be part of the League," he said.
Sreejesh was also delighted at getting $38,000 in the players auction, more than twice the base price of $13,900.
"Usually goalkeepers don't get much money, but this is a good amount. I am thankful to my franchisee for showing interest in me," he added.
The goalie will play along with international stars such as Sandeep Singh, Joel Carroll (Australia), Matthew Swann (Australia) and Mahmood Rashid (Pakistan).