Sardar Singh dropped from Indian squad for Hockey World League Final tournament
Sardar Singh, who was part of the Indian hockey team during their victorious campaign in the Asia Cup, has been left out of the team for the Hockey World League Final tournament starting in Bhubaneswar in December.Updated: Nov 17, 2017 12:59 IST
Hockey India have given a clear message to veterans Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh. The impetus is on youth, absolute fitness and fresh legs, taking into account a hectic season next year that includes the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, World Cup and Olympic qualifiers.
Sardar Singh and forward Ramandeep, who were part of the Asia Cup winning India squad at Dhaka earlier, were shown the door for the Men’s Hockey World League Final tournament which starts on December 1 at Bhubaneswar.
A decent number of youngsters, who were part of the Junior World Cup winning Indian team last year, have been included in the side and this could make Sardar and Ramandeep’s comeback a bit tough.
“Youngsters are the future. We are just trying a different combination in view of big events next year,” a Hockey India selector told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity on Friday as soon the 18-member squad was named for the Odisha event. “In fact, it’s not end of the road for veterans as they are still part of our scheme, but much would depend on the performance of these youngsters, especially in the pressure situation.”
Manpreet Singh will be leading the side again, while Chinglensana Singh would be shouldering the responsibility of his deputy. The team will see Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera guard the Indian goalpost. The midfield will see SK Uthappa, Kothajit Singh and Sumit join Manpreet and Chinglensana, whereas the return of experienced dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh and Odisha-lad Birendra Lakra would bolster the side further.
India are grouped with Australia, England and Germany in Pool B and will begin their campaign on the opening day against defending champions Australia. “It is good to have Rupinder, who brings great experience, as well as Birendra back in the team. Both are 100 per cent fit and eager to wear the India colours again,” stated the 43-year-old chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.
Junior World Cup stars Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar and Dipsan Tirkey who have had promising outings in Europe and Asia Cup in the Indian team. Odisha-lad Amit Rohidas, who had a fantastic outing in 2017 Hockey India League that stemmed his return to the Senior Camp, has been rewarded with a place in the biggest tournament of the year.
“Amit was called-in as a replacement for Kothajit who had a hamstring injury just before we left for the Asia Cup. He flew in directly from Australia where he had played the Australian Hockey League for India ‘A’ team and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands,” stated the Dutchman.
He further added that the team will have dragflick-options in Rupinder, Harmanpreet, Varun, Amit and Dipsan. “We have five players in defence who can drag and have been putting in extra hours for PC training which is great for the team,” Sjoerd said.
The forward line will see the experienced SV Sunil along with Akashdeep Singh, Gurjant Singh who had a promising Asia Cup, Lalit Upadhyay and Mandeep Singh returning to the team after being rested for Asia Cup.
Goalkeepers: Akash Anil Chikte, Suraj Karkera; Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Birendra Lakra;
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (captain), Chinglensana Singh (vice-captain), SK Uthappa, Sumit, Kothajit Singh;
Forwards: SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Gurjant Singh.
First Published: Nov 17, 2017 12:59 IST