Punjab Warriors include Dutch drag-flicker Van der Weerden for HIL

Chandigarh, Jan 17 (IANS) Dutch star drag-flicker Mink van der Weerden has replaced injured Australian Chris Ciriello in the Jaypee Punjab Warriors team for the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL), starting on January 21.

The 28-year-old defender, who has played 110 times for the Netherlands, is currently with the national training camp in South Africa and will fly directly to Delhi to participate in his HIL debut, according to the Dutch hockey federation’s website on Tuesday.

The result of the last minute decision will force van der Weerden to prematurely terminate the training camp in South Africa but he is ready for what he called an “once in a lifetime” experience.

“I knew I was on the reserve (even before the training camp). I asked (Dutch head coach) Maxmiliano Caldas whether that would be a problem because I would also like to go to South Africa,” he revealed.

“Max said, have some fun with us, and then we’ll see what happens. Sunday I suddenly had a missed call from a number in India and when I called back I heard that I can still go to the HIL.”

The 2012 Olympic and 2014 World Cup silver medallist was initially disappointed that he was not auctioned for the HIL.

He will be the eighth Dutch player of the HIL 2017. Other Dutch players competing in the cash-rich league are Robert Van der Horst, Billy Bakker, Seve van Ass, Sander de Wijn, Sander Baart, Robbert Kemperman and Wouter Jolie.

The Hockey India League starts on January 21 and Punjab Warriors play their first match on January 27.

–IANS

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