Indian hockey’s experiments with a league format go back a long way.

The Hockey India League was the most recent one. Controlled and organised by Hockey India since inception in 2013 and accorded a dedicated window in the calendar by the FIH to ensure participation from across the world, it is universally credited with the rapid ascension of Indian men’s hockey on the international stage in the last decade, both in terms of players’ individual growth and the team’s fortunes.

It helped the players financially. The experience of playing with and against the best players in the world helped them improve their strategising skills, made them confident and gave access to some of the best minds in the business. But it did little in terms of coaching talent and behind the scenes, things weren’t hunky-dory.

In the home of Olympic hero Dhyan Chand

In its five years’…

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