PR Sreejesh replaces Manpreet Singh as skipper of Indian men’s hockey team
In what could be seen as a repercussion of a medal-less campaign at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG 2018) in Gold Coast, Hockey India (HI) decided on Friday to hand back the captaincy of the men’s team to PR Sreejesh, almost a year after naming Manpreet Singh as the skipper.
In addition, HI announced that both Sreejesh and Rani will remain skippers of the men’s and women’s teams till the end of the year.
Rumours are already rife that chief coach Sjoerd Marijne’s selection and coaching methods are under the scanner after the Indian men’s hockey team failed to return from the Commonwealth Games without a medal for the first time in 12 years. The women, on the other hand, failed to earn one for the third time on the trot.
Sreejesh returns to the leadership role after making a comeback from injury. The goalkeeper was made skipper for the first time at the 2016 Champions Trophy when India won a historic silver medal. He also led India at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But during the 2017 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Sreejesh tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the right knee which led to Manpreet replacing him.
The goalie returned to action at the four-nation invitational tournament in New Zealand in January before making the squad for Gold Coast.
This is a very important year for India with a plethora of major events, starting with the Champions Trophy (June 23-July 1), Asian Games (August 18-September 2), Asian Champions Trophy (October 18-28) and the most important, World Cup (November 28-December 16).
Meanwhile, Rani will continue in her position in upcoming events like the Asian Champions Trophy (May13-20), Women’s World Cup (July 21-August 5), Asian Games (August 18-September 2) after guiding India to the 2017 Asia Cup title.
“Besides being exceptional players, both Sreejesh and Rani command great respect. The two have led the country with great enthusiasm and we believe using their experience, they will continue to do that in this all-important calendar year where both the team’s have important tournaments like World Cup and Asian Games to play in. The idea behind announcing one captain for all events until the end of the year was to bring stability to the core of both the teams,” said HI secretary general Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed.