New Zealand duo of Dean Couzins and Andrew Hayward will replace the two Pakistani players -- Muhammad Rizwan Sr and Muhammad Rizwan Jr -- in the Delhi Waveriders squad for the ongoing Hockey India League, according to a team source.
Both defenders, Couzins (31) and Hayward (27), have 260 and 137 international caps behind them respectively.
The inaugural HIL received a setback even before its start and a rattled Hockey India was forced to send back all the nine Pakistani players taking part in its high-profile league following protests over the brutal killing of Indian soldiers by Pakistani army along the Line of Control earlier this month.
After protests by Shiv Sena and other right-wing organisations disrupted the training and the first match of the league, HI took the decision to send back the Pakistani players considering the “extraordinary circumstances“.
The nine Pakistani players in the league -- Fareed Ahmed, Imran Butt, Mahmood Rashid and Muhammad Tousiq (all Mumbai Magicians), Muhammad Rizwan Sr and Muhammad Rizwan Jr (Delhi Waveriders), Muhammad Irfan and Shafqat Rasool (Ranchi Rhinos) and Kashif Shah (Jaypee Punjab Warriors) -- all returned home without featuring in a single match.
Earlier Mumbai Magicians have also replaced their four Pakistani recruits -- Tousiq , Rashid, Fareed and Imran Butt -- with Australians Jason Wilson, Tim Deavan, Glenn Simpson and New Zealand’s Steven Edwards.
Table toppers Delhi will play bottom-placed Mumbai in their next league match at the Major Dhyanchand Stadium on Saturday.