David John, Kariappa named interim India hockey coaches
Australian Graham Reid quit as chief coach after India ended joint ninth in the men’s hockey World Cup in Odisha in January, the worst finish by a host nation in the global event
Former India high performance director David John and ex-junior India coach BJ Kariappa have been named interim coaches of the Indian men’s hockey team for the March leg of the Pro League that will be held in Rourkela. Shivendra Singh, who was already part of the support staff, will assist them.
The decision follows the resignation of chief coach Graham Reid, analytical coach Gregg Clark and scientific advisor Mitchell Pemberton in the wake of India’s dismal show at the World Cup in January where they finished joint ninth in Odisha – the worst show by a host nation at the quadrennial event.
“At the Pro League in Rourkela, the team will play under interim coaches until Hockey India (HI) announces the new chief coach,” HI president Dilip Tirkey said on Monday.
John and Kariappa are currently employed by the Odisha sports department with the Australian working as director hockey, Odisha, and Kariappa employed as chief coach (hockey), Odisha.
John was HI’s last high-performance director and resigned from the post in 2020. He had joined the Indian team setup in 2011 as physio when Michael Nobbs was the chief coach. He left his position in 2012 before returning as high-performance director in 2016, succeeding Roelant Oltmans, who became the chief coach replacing Paul van Ass. After resigning from his HI post, he joined the Odisha sports department in 2022.
Kariappa was the Indian junior team coach before leaving his position last year and joining the Odisha sports department.
HI have also announced a youthful 20-member squad that will take on the newly crowned world champions Germany and Tokyo Olympics silver medallists Australia in matches that will be held from March 10 to 15.
The squad will be led by defender and drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh while Hardik Singh has been promoted as the vice-captain after his good show at the World Cup.
In an experimental squad goalkeeper PR Sreejesh retains his place while Pawan has replaced Krishan Bahadur Pathak, who has sought personal leave for his marriage.
The defence will be led by Harmanpreet, Jugraj Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Jarmanpreet Singh, Sumit, Manjeet and Manpreet Singh. The midfielders are Hardik, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Moirangthem Rabichandra Singh, Vishnukant Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Shamsher Singh and Raj Kumar Pal. The forwardline will feature S Karthi, Sukhjeet Singh, Abhishek and Gurjant.
Players not selected for these matches have been released from the national coaching camp to play in the Senior Men’s Inter-Department National Championships that began in Bengaluru on February 26. The 20-member squad will continue to train in Bengaluru till March 6 before moving to Rourkela.
“The national selectors have chosen a young team who are making good progress on the international stage. They will be well guided by the presence of senior players who have extensive international experience playing for India,” Tirkey said.
India face Germany on March 10 in the first match of this leg followed by Germany playing Australia on March 11. On March 12, India and Australia will meet before the hosts play Germany again on March 13. The next day, Germany will face Australia again before the final game on March 15 when India play Australia the second time.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Pawan
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (captain), Jugraj Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Jarmanpreet Singh, Sumit, Manjeet, Manpreet Singh
Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Moirangthem Rabichandra Singh, Vishnukant Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Shamsher Singh, Raj Kumar Pal
Forwards: S Karthi, Sukhjeet Singh, Abhishek, Gurjant Singh