Olympic bronze medal-winning captain Manpreet Singh will lead a 20-member Indian men’s hockey team, which doesn’t feature veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, at next month’s Hero Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka. While Manpreet will lead the side, star dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh has been named as the vice-captain for the tournament, to be held from December 14 to 22. The squad for the tournament, which is India’s first outing after the Tokyo Olympics, has plenty of new faces. Talismanic goalkeeper Sreejesh has been rested and Krishan Bahadur Pathak and Suraj Karkera will take the place under the goal.
Harmanpreet will be in charge of the Indian defence in the company of Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar and Mandeep Mor.
The midfield will be manned by Manpreet alongside Hardik Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Sumit, Rajkumar Pal, Shamsher Singh and the experienced Akashdeep Singh.
The forwardline will be led by Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh, Gursahibjit Singh and Shilanand Lakra. Defending champions India will begin their campaign on the opening day against Korea. The other teams in the tournament are Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh.
Talking about the composition of the side, chief coach Graham Reid said, “While selecting this team we now must have our eyes on the future. It takes a deep and strong squad to build sustained success so players have to be given opportunities to perform.”
“We have picked a team that has a good mix of experience and younger guys who will have their chance to show what they can do.
“It is a hectic match schedule and given the COVID situation FIH and AHF have allowed 18 players to be chosen each game out of a greater squad of 20.”
India will play their opening match against Korea on December 14, followed by games against hosts Bangladesh (December 15), arch-rivals Pakistan (December 17), Malaysia (December 18) and Japan (December 19).
The semifinals are scheduled for December 21 followed by the title clash on the next day. In the previous edition of the event held in Muscat, Oman, India had jointly lifted the title along with Pakistan as the final was called off due to incessant rains.
Goalkeepers: Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Suraj Karkera.
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor.
Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Sumit, Rajkumar Pal, Akashdeep Singh, Shamsher Singh. Forwards: Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Shilanand Lakra.
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