New Delhi: Delhi Waveriders' chief advisor Ajit Pal Singh Monday said the teams' new penalty corner exponents Andrew Haywards and Diwakar Ram provide the defending champions formidable options to rely on in their quest to retain the Hockey India League (HIL) trophy.
New Zealand's seasoned defender Haywards and former Indian player Ram were picked by the Waveriders in the auction for this tournament's edition Jan 22-Feb 22.
Ajit Pal, captain of India's World Cup-winning side in 1975, said the two new recruits will not only reduce the pressure on Indian penalty corner specialist Rupinderpal Singh but also provide the team with several worthy penalty takers during the crucial moments of a match.
"Every player has his strengths and weaknesses. No doubt Rupinder is doing well. But, it is a long tournament and in such a fast paced game, one needs to be at his best every time. A sportsman has his good days and bad days, considering that, we need to have multiple options," Ajit Pal, who also won two Olympic bronze medals with the team in 1968 and 1972, pointed out.
"We are happy that we have these players at our disposal. Hayward also played for us in the first edition. We are pleased to have him this time again. He is a quality player and Ram is also good. Along with Rupinder, these two have also boosted our chances. So, I am happy with the penalty corner options we have at the moment."
The 67-year-old is also optimistic that goalkeepers Pirmin Blaak and Erasmus Pieterse will step up to the occasion and ensure that the team does not feel the absence of German goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi who will miss the month-long tournament due to national commitments.
"Jacobi will not be coming because he has some national commitments. He was a crucial member of our team and no one can replace him. But, we have other goalkeepers who are also good. I am confident that they will step up and seize the opportunity."
The former Indian captain also said his team is not under any kind of pressure and will try its best to retain the title.