Manpreet to lead India in eight-nation FIH Series Finals , Ramandeep recalled

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Ace mid fielder Manpreet Singh was on Tuesday retained captain of the 18-member Indian Hockey team for the eight-nation FIH Series Finals scheduled to begin on 6 June in Bhubaneswar

India has been clubbed with Russia, Poland and Uzbekistan in Pool A, while Asian Games winner Japan, Mexico, USA and South Africa are in Pool B.

The Indian team for the event to be played at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium will have local star Birendra Lakra as vice captain.

Veteran PR Sreejesh and Krishan B Pathak have been retained as the goalkeepers, while Harmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas and Gurinder Singh are the defenders..

The midfield will see Manpreet Singh play a key role along with youngsters Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sumit and Nilakanta Sharma.

in the the forward-line striker Ramandeep Singh ,who last played for the country at the FIH Champions Trophy in Breda last year and was out of action due to a knee injury, has been recalled . He will join Mandeep Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Akashdeep Singh.

India will open their campaign on 6 June against Russia and will be aiming to finish on the top in order to make it for the Olympic Qualifying event to be held later this year.
“I am very much looking forward to my first FIH tournament as Chief Coach of the Indian team. The FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha is an important step in the Olympic qualification process,” said Chief Coach Graham Reid.

“We have selected a well-balanced group including Ramandeep Singh, who is returning from injury and Varun Kumar who was rested for the Australian tour.

Sumit and Amit Rohidas too return to bolster our defensive capabilities and our Penalty Corner. Simranjeet also returns to add some flexibility and strike power to the forward-line,” Reid said about the team composition.

Talking about team’s preparedness for the tournament, Reid said, “Our focus for the tournament will be consistency of performance. To achieve this will we need to respect every opposition and give our 100 per cent every quarter, each half, each game. Our goal will be to be the best team we can be.”

He further added that the team’s emphasis at the moment is on circle entries, finishing, tight marking and tackling. “The Australian tour made us very aware of the level we need to play at to compete with the best teams of the world and we need to aim for that each time we train and each time we play.

” We are spending a lot of time at the moment on our circle entries, our finishing, tight marking and tackling and we want to see improvements in these areas. PCs are also important and we have chosen three drag flickers to use during the tournament,” said Reid.

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