Manpreet to lead 20-member Indian Hockey team in FIH Pro League

Harpal Singh Bedi


New Delhi: Ace mid fielder  Manpreet Singh was on Monday retained captain of the 20-member Indian hockey team for the  double header season opener of the FIH  Pro League  against the Netherlands to be held at the Kalinga  Stadium in Bhubaneswar on 18 and 19 January. 

The   two teams  last  played against each other  at the same venue in 2018  World Cup Quarter Final. 

Drag flicker   Harmanpreet Singh has been named vice captain of the squad which  will see the return of experienced midfielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam who has not been in competition since the 9th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship 2019 (A Division) in February last year.

 He suffered an ankle fracture in the Final that kept him out of action. Promising youngster  Sumit too will make his comeback after he suffered a wrist injury in June during the FIH  Series Final where India beat South Africa in the Final. 

 Apart from  Manpreet and  Harmanpreet  other members of the team are goal keepers  PR Sreejesh and , Krishan B Pathak,  experienced Birendra Lakra, dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh,  Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar and the    Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma  

Striker Gurjant Singh  will join SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Gursahibjit Singh and Kothajit Singh Khadangbam. 

Talking about the team Chief Coach Graham Reid.  admitted that  experienced players have been preferred  for this crucial fixture against World number 3 team “We have chosen a relatively experienced team to take on the Netherlands this weekend in Bhubaneswar. While Varun Kumar will be back in training this week after suffering a nerve injury during the Olympic Qualifiers, he wasn’t able to be considered for selection” 

“We will however get a chance to see Chinglensana return to international competition after a full year out and Sumit returns after a 6 month hand injury. Both have been training well and are physically fit. Gurjant has also shown great form in training and has earned his spot back in the team,” he  added . 

Reid opined  that it will be crucial to be sharp in the  Pro League as the team will be taking on the World’s best teams, including the Netherlands (18-19 January), Belgium (8-9 February), Australia (21-22 February).

“It will be important to start strong and sharp in the Pro League with our first 3 encounters against the top 3 teams in the world. We will be focussing on getting our structures right and honing our set plays as preparation for our Olympic campaign.”

The Team:  P R Sreejesh,  Krishan Bahadur Pathak , Harmanpreet Singh   (V Capt) ,Gurinder Singh,Amit Rohidas,Surender Kumar,Birender Lakra,Rupinder Pal Singh, Manpreet Singh (Capt),Vivek Sagar Prasad, Chinglensana Singh,Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit, Gurjant Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Upadhyay,Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam.

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