Indian current men’s hockey team skipper PR Sreejesh has been retained as the captain for the upcoming fourth edition of the Asian Champions Trophy which is going to be hosted in Malaysia. The tournament will kick off on the 20th of October.
Midfielder Manpreet Singh has been chosen to be the vice-captain of the team. This 18 member squad was announced by Hockey India (HI) on Thursday.
This 18 member squad represents a healthy mix of youth and experience. The notable absentees from the squad include popular drag-flicker VR Raghunath. The forward line duo of Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh are also not included in the team. According to reports these three players have been rested.
This team also witness the comeback of Birendra Lakra who was forced to be out of the game because of injury.
Lakra showed his impressive form during the recently played Obaidullah Khan Heritage Hockey Cup in Bhopal and the MCC-Murugappa Cup in Chennai. Lakra is expected to give a formidable defence for India along with other players like Rupinder Pal Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar and Pardeep Mor.
This squad does not see any changes in the midfield line up. On the other hand, the forward line will see two new players — Talwinder Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay. VR Raghunath’s absence seems to have been taken care of by the inclusion of defender Jasjit Singh Kular who, besides defending, is also expected to take over the role of Raghunath as a drag flicker.
The men’s Asian Champions Trophy will happen just after two months of the Rio Olympic Games. Besides India, this tournament will feature Korea, Japan, China and hosts Malaysia and defending champions Pakistan.
Indian Team’s Chief Coach and Director High-Performance Roelant Oltmans expressing his full confidence in the Indian team said that the Asian Champions Trophy is an important tournament for the Indian men’s hockey team. According to Oltmans if one goes by the current world ranking the Indian team seems to be the hot favourites to win the title. The chief described the mood of the team members in the camps held after the Rio Olympics to be upbeat and enthusiastic. According to him, the team wants to start the season with a “winning note”.
The Indian skipper commenting on his team’s preparations for the upcoming tournament in Malaysia said that they are the top ranked team in Asia right now and no team should take the risk of taking them lightly. According to the star goalkeeper, the defending champions Pakistan has the potential to spring an odd surprise. For him, Korea is another team to watch out for considering their recent form.
The members of the Indian Men’s Hockey Squad are:
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (Captain) Akash Chikte
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Pardeep Mor, Jasjit Singh Kular, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar
Midfielders: Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet Singh (Vice Captain), Sardar Singh, SK Uthappa, Devindar Walmiki
Forwards: Talwinder Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Affan Yousuf
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