Sardar Singh dropped from Indian hockey team’s Europe exposure tour
Hockey India announced that Manpreet Singh will lead the 18-member Indian hockey team for a series of matches with Belgium and Netherlands. The team does not include Sardar Singh, SV Sunil and Akashdeep SinghUpdated: Jul 28, 2017 20:21 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India’s ace half-back Sardar Singh has been dropped from the squad for the upcoming European hockey tour. Besides Sardar Singh, Hockey India has also excluded forwards SV Sunil and Akashdeep Singh. The three were members of the Indian hockey team that finished sixth in the recently concluded Hockey World League Semifinal held in London.
On Friday, Hockey India announced that Manpreet Singh will lead the 18-member team for the series of matches with Belgium and Netherlands. The national team currently training at Bangalore will leave for the tour on August 5 and play its opening match with Belgium on August 9 followed by the second game on August 10.
India will play their next two matches against Netherlands on August 13 and 14. The final match, against Austria, will also be played in the Netherlands, on August 16.
India’s seasoned midfielder Sardar Singh hasn’t been playing at his best in recent times and yet has remained a key member of the national team for major international events.
For the August 9 to 16 European tour, chief coach Roelant Oltmans has given the opportunity to some youngsters. They include Armaan Qureshi, who was a member of the junior World Cup winning team in 2016. After the domestic league in January, Qureshi recently played in the nationals at Lucknow.
In the absence of versatile Akashdeep Singh and SV Sunil, it will be good chance for Qureshi to cement his place in the squad as the federation is in the process of building the team for the Asia Cup, to be played in Dhaka from October 12.
However, forwards Mandeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh have been included. Oltmans said the process of giving opportunities to youngsters will continue as the team management looks for the right combination. “We have been working on improving our counter control and defence. The focus in the camp has also been on improving goal-scoring chances,” he added.
With ace drag-flicker Rupinderpal Singh still recovering from an injury, it will be a good opportunity for defender Amit Rohidas to prove himself. Dispan Tirkey and Gurjant Singh are other two members of the junior World Cup-winning squad in the team picked up for the tour.
During the HWL Semifinal in London, India were expected to finish among the top three but wilted under pressure and missed chances in the knockout stage. Even in the play-off match for the sixth place, India squandered several goal-scoring chances to lose 2-3 to Canada.
According to HI high performance director, David John, there hasn’t been any review of the national team’s performance.
Goalkeepers: Akash Anil Chikte, Suraj Karkera.
Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar.
Midfielders: SK Uthappa, Harjeet Singh, Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma.
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh, Armaan Qureshi.
First Published: Jul 28, 2017 16:57 IST