Charlesworth rules out Aussie participation in WSH

Australia chief coach Charlesworth says his national team players will not be part of December's World Series Hockey as they need to rest and be injury-free for January's training camp

The million dollar franchise-based World Series Hockey in India from December 15 to January 22 could be dealt a severe blow if Australian head coach Ric Charlesworth has his way.

Man in charge: Australia head coach Ric Charlesworth (left) during the
2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games. PIC/Getty Images

WSH's organisers recently announced that they have signed up a host of Indian as well as international stars for the first-of-its-kind lucrative league.

However, no member of the world championship-winning Australian team has yet been signed up for the tournament, and this despite a prolonged dialogue between the organisers of the WSH and representatives of Hockey Australia (HA).

Coach Charlesworth told MiD DAY yesterday that though he and HA are not against WSH in any way, the national team's packed calendar this year affords players very little spare time, following which there is the all-important Olympic Games next year.

Packed schedule
"We do not finish the Champions Trophy until December 13 and then the players have their only break for the year and of course Christmas," said Charlesworth, who has been coach of the Australian men's team since 2009, during which they won the 2009 Champions Trophy in Melbourne, 2010 Champions Trophy in Monchengladbach,  FIH World Cup and New Delhi Commonwealth Games gold. Charlesworth said his boys would definitely be inclined to play in the WSH, but the rest factor is equally important.

"Most (of the players) would love to play in the World Series,  but I think this year it will not be possible as we start training in mid-January (2012). They need to rest and be injury free for that time," explained the former Australian captain.

The five-time Olympian however did sign off on a positive note. "I think, next year you will find many (Australian) players keen to participate. Perhaps some of those, who miss the Olympic squad would be keen to play (this year)," he said.

No big names 
Going by Charlesworth's words, the inaugural edition of the WSH could well be without the likes of some of Australia's top hockey stars like three-time FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer, super striker Des Abbott, FIH young player of the year Mark Knowles, maverick midfielder Rob Hammond, etc.

Organisers positive 
Organisers of the WSH however, are certain the Australians will come on board this year itself. "We are in talks with Hockey Australia and coach Charlesworth and are confident that we will sign up the Australian players for the inaugural edition of the league," said a representative of WSH.

The inaugural edition of WSH will be played across eight cities -- Delhi, Punjab, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru with the remaining two slots set to be taken from among Bhopal, Pune, Rourkela, Ranchi, Manipur, Lucknow and Kolkata.

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