Manpreet takes the armband in custodian P.R. Sreejesh’s stead, after the latter suffered a knee injury in Malaysia.
Bengaluru: Fresh from their bronze medal at the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia, India’s hockey marauders are ready to buckle down and focus on the next challenge — a three-nation invitational tournament in Dusseldorf, Germany, from June 1 to 6. The 18-man squad for the upcoming leg of a season still very much in its infancy was decided by head coach Roelant Oltmans at Sports Authority of India’s Southern Centre here in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Midfield lynchpin Manpreet Singh will lead the side in two matches each against Germany and Belgium, before heading out to London for the World Hockey League semi-finals.
Manpreet takes the armband in custodian P.R. Sreejesh’s stead, after the latter suffered a knee injury in Malaysia, ruling him out of summer itinerary.
“Quite a number of boys who played in Malaysia did a good job, and now some other players will get the opportunity to play in this tournament. I always like to have a certain core to make sure players get the chance to play in a team with a strong base,” Oltmans said after reshuffling his pack.
Previously rested midfielders Satbir Singh and S.K. Uthappa enter the fray, while the return of Ramandeep Singh will add firepower upfront.
The Dutchman sees Dusseldorf event as vital precursor ahead of the WHL London leg. Their targets are very much set in stone. “The Hockey World League semi-final is a prestigious tournament. But we will set a clear target to finish in the top three. It is up to us to perform according to the qualities India have at the moment.”
Expectations are high after India sparkled in patches in Malaysia, defeating a plucky Japan and New Zealand, but falling to Australia and the hosts. The positives lie in India’s tactical approach of taking games by the scruff of the neck.
Squad: Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Vikas Dahiya; Defenders: Pardeep Mor, Koth-ajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Harman-preet Singh; Midfielders: Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (vice-capt.), S.K. Uthappa, Satbir Singh, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh (capt.), Harjeet Singh; Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, S.V. Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh