Going with its plan to give opportunities to all players in the camp, Hockey India (HI) has rested skipper Sardar Singh for the June 10-17 Champions Trophy in London.
“It is important that key players get a break before the Olympics,” said Harbinder Singh, a member of the federation’s selection panel.
In the absence of Sardar, goalkeeper PR Sreejesh will lead the 18-member side. Besides Sardar, drag flickers Rupinderpal Singh and Dharamvir Singh will also be missing action.
The selection panel had rested key players like Sreejesh for the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in April, and it continues with its rotational policy for the Champions Trophy.
Drag flicker VR Raghunath, who was rested in Malaysia, is back and young goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya will also be given a chance.
Defender Harmanpreet Singh, a member of the team that won silver at Azlan Shah, has been included for London.
After the Champions Trophy, India will compete in the six-nation tournament in Valencia, Spain, from June 27 to July 5.
The federation plans to send a different set of players to Valencia, said Harbinder. It will be the last opportunity to observe the players as the final selection will take place after Valencia.
Ahead of Rio, the national team will go on an exposure tour to either Argentina or Brazil from July 10.
PR Sreejesh (captain), Vikas Dahiya, Pradeep Mor, VR Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Sanish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet Singh, SKUthappa, Devinder Sunil Walmiki, Harjeet Singh, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah