India on Monday announced an 18-member strong senior men’s hockey team for the Commonwealth Games. It saw the return of Manpreet Singh as captain, while drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh was named vice-captain.
Hockey India had initially decided to send a second-rate team to the Commonwealth Games due to the short time between the Birmingham Games and Hangzhou Asian Games, a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Asian Games were postponed due to the situation related to Kovid-19 in China, after which Hockey India decided to choose a strong team for this prestigious competition starting from 28 July.
The Indian team is placed in Pool B along with England, Canada, Wales and Ghana. The two-time former silver medalist Indian team will start their campaign against Ghana on July 31. Manpreet, who led the Indian team when it won a historic bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, will replace Amit Rohidas who captained India in the FIH Pro League matches against Belgium and the Netherlands. Harmanpreet, who was made the vice-captain, was the highest goal scorer in the FIH Hockey Pro League.
Head coach Graham Reid said in the release that we have selected a tested team for the Commonwealth Games. These players have the experience of playing against the top team in high-pressure matches in the FIH Pro League, which is a great experience ahead of the prestigious competition to be held in four years. “When we return from the Netherlands after a brief break, we will restore camp at the SAI center in Bengaluru and assess our performance against Belgium and the Netherlands,” he said.
Veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and returning from injury Krishna Bahadur Pathak have been included in the squad. The responsibility of defense will be on Varun Kumar, Surendra Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Jugraj Singh and Jarmanpreet Singh. Manpreet, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh and Neelkant Sharma have got place in the midfield. Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh and Abhishek have been included in the team as strikers. Goalkeeper Suraj Karkera and forwards Shilanand Lakra and Sukhjit Singh, who were part of the Indian team in the FIH Pro League, have not found a place in the team. India finished fourth in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
The team is as follows:
Goalkeeper: PR Sreejesh and Krishna Bahadur Pathak.
Fefender: Varun Kumar, Surendra Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Jugraj Singh and Jarmanpreet Singh
Midfielder: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh and Neelkant Sharma
Forward: Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh and Abhishek