Sardar, Sunil return as Marijne takes charge ahead of Asia Cup
Veterans Sardar Singh and S.V. Sunil returned as new chief coach Sjoerd Marijne on Saturday named the Indian hockey squad for the Hero Asia Cup, starting on October 11 in Dhaka.
Midfielder Manpreet Singh was named the captain of the 18-member squad. Forward S.V Sunil will be the vice-captain, Hockey India (HI) said in a statement. Sunil and Sardar were rested for the European Tour.
Goalkeepers Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera retained their spots in the squad whereas defenders Harmanpreet Singh and Surender Kumar made a return after being rested for the Europe Tour.
The 18-member squad will also see the return of forwards Akashdeep Singh and Satbir Singh.
The defence line-up has young players in Dipsan Tirkey, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar, with Rupinder Pal Singh recovering from an injury.
Veteran goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh too is not part of the team as he is yet to fully recover from an injury.
Commenting on the team combination, Marijne said: "I am looking forward to working with the team which has been picked to have a good blend of experience and youth.
"The upcoming Hero Asia Cup 2017 will be our first tournament together, and I am very excited to see how the team expresses their leadership qualities on the field.
"I have previously watched the team live in Netherlands, and I feel that the energy within the team and their play is very impressive. We will be focusing on performing well as a team and will be aiming to win the tournament," he added.
Dutchman Marijne takes over from sacked Roelant Oltmans. Marijne was earlier with the Indian women's team.
India feature in Pool A alongside Japan, hosts Bangladesh and Pakistan. The blue sticks will start their tournament against Japan on October 11 before facing Bangladesh on October 13.
The team will play their third and final league match of the tournament against Pakistan on October 15.