Devon Manchester is relishing the prospect of his first stint in the Indian Hockey League.

The Black Sticks goalkeeper, among the best in the game, is one of five New Zealand players who have been signed up for the fourth edition of hockey's equivalent of the higher profile, and longer running, Indian Premier League cricket event.

Manchester has been hired by the Delhi Waveriders, a perennial high achiever in the six-team league, and has New Zealand captain Simon Child and midfielder Steve Edwards for Kiwi company.

Canterbury's Nick Haig will play for the Punjab Warriors while fellow Black Sticks squad member Shea McAleese is with the Mumbai franchise.


"When it first came around (2013), I thought it was something I'd definitely like a crack at," Manchester said.

"I've been to India a few times but I think this will be quite different. We're over there longer and are more immersed in an Indian environment.

"We're travelling around the country, with Indian team mates and other players from different countries. It adds a different dimension and you experience a lot more."

Manchester, who was bought by Delhi for $42,000, expects to face a high calibre of opposing attackers throughout the tournament, and hopes that will bring out the best in his game.

He will be battling for game time against India's reserve goalkeeper, Harjot Singh, but is confident he will get plenty of opportunities.

"I wouldn't expect to play all the games, with the sheer volume of them, but I haven't had any indication from the coaches yet."

The tournament will also feature new rules, including two goals for a field goal and a foul committed during a penalty corner will result in a penalty stroke worth two goals. The changes are designed to encourage more attacking, skillful hockey.

"There's a lot of talk about penalty corners having too much emphasis on the result of games. They want to try and encourage more field play, like getting in the circle and actually trying to score goals rather than living off penalty corners," Manchester said.


However he suspects teams might be prepared to defend more aggressively to try and stop attackers getting off shots, on the basis that conceding a penalty corner is less of a punishment than a goal scored in open play.

"Generally I just expect people to be shooting at me all the time. I don't think it'll change too much for me."

Squads of 20 must have 12 Indian players and eight overseas, of which only five are allowed on the field at the same time.

That will lead to coaches having to keep their wits about them at substitution time.

Delhi won the 2014 league title, were second in the inaugural 2013 event and third last year.

Next year's tournament starts on January 18 and wraps up on February 21.

Germany's world player of the yeare Moritz Furste was the highest priced item at this year's auction, costing the Kalinga Lancers $164,000, with fellow Germans Florian Fuchs (to Mumbai) and Tobias Hauke (to Uttar Pradesh Wizards) next most expensive at $153,000 apiece.