Jalandhar: Uttar Pradesh Wizards would begin their Hockey India League campaign in an away tie against Jaypee Punjab Warriors in what promises to be an absorbing encounter here on Thursday.
In this five-team home and away format, Uttar Pradesh Wizards, owned by Sahara Adventure Sports Limited, is the only team that has not been part of the action in the first three days.
While Wizards would be playing their first match of the tournament, Warriors would be playing their second game in as many days, and third in four days. Wizards would try to exploit any tiredness that the Warriors might show.
With skipper VR Raghunath at the helm, Wizards are high on confidence. "It's a great feeling to captain Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
As the captain it is my responsibility to lead from the front and support my team. We will be putting our best foot forward while taking on Punjab, which is a well-settled team by now since it's their third and our very first game," Raghunath said ahead of the team's opener.
With the likes of Teun de Nooijer, Eddie Ockenden, David Alegre on his side, Raghunath believes in his team's chances of delivering the goods. "Having some of the best players of the world, the entire team is very excited and we are ready to give some wonderful performances in the tournament," he added.
Apart from Raghunath, Tushar Khandekar is one player that Warriors would be wary of. A quality forward, Khandekar has impressed many on the domestic as well as international circuit.
For Warriors, it would be their second home game in a row, and they would enjoy the support of home fans. It would also be interesting to see how the team recovers in just a little over 24 hours after their game against Ranchi Rhinos today to take on a fresh Wizards side.