Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Ace midfielder Manpreet Singh will lead the 18-member Indian Hockey team’s campaign In the FIH Hockey World Cup to be played in Bhubaneswar from 28 November to 16 December.
Midfielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam has been named vice captain of the team which includes six players from the 2016 Junior World Cup team .However drag flicker Rupinder Pal and striker S V Sunil do not find place in the squad.
Rupinder Pal who has not been considered for this prestigious event, was also ignored for the Asia Champions Trophy held last month.
Sunil’s participation was in doubt as he had picked up a knee injury during the national camp early October and is still not fully fit.
India is 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.
The hosts who will take on South Africa on the opening day have veteran PR Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak as goalkeepers.
Odisha’s experienced defender Birendra Lakra, makes a comeback into the team after missing out the Asian Champions Trophy due to rehabilitation.
He will be joined by 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 specialized as dragflickers.
Manpreet who played a pivotal role in India’s campaign as defending Champions at the Asian Champions Trophy, will be the mid field’s mainstay .
Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will add to the experience in the center 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.
“We have chosen the best available combinations for the World Cup “ said chief coach Harendra Singh.
“ 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,” the coach asserted.
The core group of 34 will continue to train in Bhubaneswar till 23 November 2018 after which the team will finalise its preparations for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak,
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice Captain), Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Sumit
Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Simranjeet Singh.