NO PLACE FOR OLD GUNS
Rupinder and injured Sunil ignored as Manpreet named Indian hockey team captain for World Cup
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.