Devindar Walmiki to have second stint in Dutch hockey league

For the Indian hockey midfielder, this will be another opportunity to link up with former India coach Paul Van Ass.

By Rahul Venkat

Rio 2016 Olympian Devindar Walmiki will play another season with Dutch hockey club HOC Gazellen-Combinatie (HGC).

Having enjoyed his first stint last year, the Indian hockey midfielder had no hesitation in accepting a contract extension for the current Hoofdklasse season, which begins on September 6.

“It is one of the top leagues in the world and I believe more of us should play there because it helps you become a complete player,” Devindar Walmiki told Indian Luger Shiva Keshavan in an Instagram Live session.

The 28-year-old Devindar first signed with HGC in 2019 after learning that former Indian hockey men’s team coach Paul Van Ass would be at the helm at the Dutch club.

The pair shared a good relationship during their time together in the Indian hockey team and the challenge of playing in a foreign league appealed to Devindar Walmiki.

“The experience of playing under a master tactician such as Paul van Ass and with players from every corner of the globe has been enriching, to say the least,” he told The New Indian Express.

The midfielder, who can also play in defence, has earned 48 caps for the Indian hockey men’s team but has not played for the senior team since 2016.

“My performances there should be good enough to earn me a call-up to the selection trials for the national team and that is my ultimate aim,” he added.

Devindar Walmiki, who had only come home to Mumbai from the Netherlands last month, has already returned to the Netherlands.

हॉकी के मैच के दौरान बॉल को लेकर आगे बढ़ते देवेंद्र वाल्मीकि

He will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, following which he can return to training, with the Dutch hockey federation setting certain guidelines to adhere to safety protocols.

“The federation has instructed us to train in smaller groups, maybe five players. Before entering the ground, sanitizing ourselves was mandatory and use of the clubhouse and the changing room was barred. Players were asked to report for training in full kit, return wearing the same kit,” Devindar Walmiki told Sportstar.

The Hoofdklasse will be played over three months, with the final scheduled on November 29.