NO PLACE FOR OLD GUNS

Rupin­der and in­jured Su­nil ig­nored as Man­preet named In­dian hockey team cap­tain for World Cup

Mail Today - - HOCKEY/BADMINTON -

MAN­PREET Singh will lead an 18mem­ber In­dian squad in the up­com­ing FIH Hockey World Cup slated to be­gin in Bhubaneswar on Novem­ber 28, with vet­eran Rupin­der Pal Singh and SV Su­nil miss­ing the bus.

Striker Su­nil’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the mega event was al­ways in doubt ever since he picked up a knee in­jury dur­ing the na­tional camp in the lead up to the Asian Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy held in Mus­cat last month.

Rupin­der Pal has been ig­nored again af­ter be­ing dropped from the con­ti­nen­tal event last month. Su­nil too did not play in the tour­na­ment in which In­dia were de­clared joint win­ners with Pak­istan af­ter rain played spoil­sport on the fi­nal day.

The team will be led by Man­preet while the bice cap­tain is Chin­glen­sana Singh Kan­gu­jam.

The In­dian team sched­uled to be­gin their cam­paign against South Africa on the open­ing day fea­tures PR Sree­jesh and Kr­is­han Ba­hadur Pathak as goal­keep­ers.

Odisha’s ex­pe­ri­enced de­fender Biren­dra Lakra, who makes a come­back into the team af­ter miss­ing out the Hero Asian Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Mus­cat last month due to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, will be joined by fel­low Odia Amit Ro­hi­das, Suren­der Ku­mar, Kotha­jit Singh and 2016 Ju­nior World Cup win­ners Har­man­preet Singh, Varun Ku­mar to form In­dia’s de­fence with three of them spe­cialised as dragflick­ers.

The mid­field will see the dy­namic Man­preet who played a piv­otal role in In­dia’s cam­paign as de­fend­ing Cham­pi­ons at the Hero Asian Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy. Chin­glen­sana Singh Kan­gu­jam will add to the ex­pe­ri­ence in the cen­tre along with young guns Su­mit, Ni­lakanta Sharma also of the Ju­nior World Cup team and Hardik Singh, who made his In­ter­na­tional de­but last month.

The for­ward line will see the ex­pe­ri­enced Akashdeep Singh, Dil­preet Singh, Lalit Upad­hyay and Ju­nior World Cup win­ners Man­deep Singh, Sim­ran­jeet Singh.

In­dia grouped in Pool C along with World No.3 Bel­gium, Canada and South Africa will need to fin­ish on top of the pool to se­cure a place in the Quar­ter Fi­nal.

“We have cho­sen the best avail­able com­bi­na­tions for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. We had to make some tough de­ci­sions to se­lect 18 out of a very strong pool of 34 play­ers. The fi­nal 18 are a mix of ex­pe­ri­enced and youth and have been se­lected on the ba­sis of their cur­rent form and fit­ness. Th­ese play­ers have con­sis­tently shown their po­ten­tial in the lead up to the show­piece event and I am con­fi­dent In­dia will put up a fight­ing per­for­mance,” as­serted chief coach Haren­dra Singh.

Chin­glen­sana Singh is the vice cap­tain

The In­dian hockey team will con­tinue to train in Bhubaneswar till Novem­ber 23.

(Left) SV Su­nil picked up a knee in­jury dur­ing na­tional camp last month. (Right) Vet­eran dragflicker Rupin­der Pal Singh.

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