New Delhi: Boasting a clutch of international players, Chennai Cheetahs believe they have the ammunition to light up their campaign in the inaugural Bridgestone World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament commencing next week.

On the sidelines of a function to unveil the teams logo, skipper Brent Livermore exuded confidence while claiming that the Cheetahs are the best team in the competition.

Livemore, the former Australian star, said: I am elated about playing hockey in India and leading such a fabulous team. Since arrival here Feb 20, we have been training and I am sure the team members will successfully manage travel recovery, nutrition and fitness.

We are the best team to win the World Series Hockey title. Indian players in the team are well equipped with fantastic skills. I will be disappointed if we fail to make the final.

The squad includes the likes of Danish Mujtaba, Vikram Pillay and Dhananjay Mahadik besides current India goalkeeper Bharat Chetri and top Pakistani player Imran Warsi.

Livermore pointed out that the WSH had generated tremendous interest among Australian players, but quite a few of them pulled out when the event was postponed from December to February to ensure that the Indian teams preparations for the ongoing Olympic qualifier in Delhi was not hampered.

Every day I have been flooded with email messages from Australian players wanting to join the teams in World Series Hockey. Since it was shifted, many foreign stars including the Germans pulled out due to contract schedules.

I am very sure that all those players will be ready to compete in the next edition in December. The Australians and Germans joining the event in its next edition will be a big boost for the tournament, Livermore said.

Coach Jose Brasa lamented that the WSH was mired in avoidable controversy with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) threatening action on players who participate in the competition.

The players are registered with their respective national federations. If the national federations have extended permission to its players to compete in World Series Hockey, the FIH has no business to interfere.

When Hockey India has no issues in its players playing in the event, the players cannot be punished by FIH, asserted Brasa who until last year was the coach of the Indian team.

Team owner LT Nanwani said he had enough players to cover for any further dropouts, but hoped that the issue would be resolved amicably.

The course for holding the tournament has been cleared. There is nothing against the FIH. We do hope that the players will be allowed to compete in WSH.

Even if a couple of Indian players are not released by their employers, we have 27 players in the team and we have enough cushion to field best eleven for each of our 14 matches, he said.

The Chennai Cheetahs are scheduled to open their campaign with two away matches in Jalandhar and Delhi. In all, they will be playing 14 matches on a home-and-away basis.

The squad: Brent Livermore (Capt), Adam Sinclair, Amardeep Ekka, Amit Kumar Prabhakar, BK Muthanna, Benedikt Sperling, Bharat Chetri, Chinthakunta Santosh Kumar, Danish Mujtaba, Davinderpal Singh, Dhananjay Mahadik, Dharamvir Singh, Gaurav Tokhi, Gauravjit Singh, Hamza Mujtaba, Jasbir Singh, Joseph Reardon, Mark Harris, Rafeeq SM, S Arumugam, Samir Baxla, Sandeep Antil, Shivamani, Syed Imran Warsi, Veerasamy Raja, Vikas Sharma and Vikram Pillay.

(Agencies)