The 18-member Indian team that will participate at the FIH men’s hockey World Cup, which gets underway on January 13 in Odisha, was chosen on Friday, with defender Harmanpreet Singh being named captain.
Harmanpreet’s assistant will be defender Amit Rohidas.
In the most recent series against Australia, Harmanpreet also served as captain. In that series, the team battled valiantly but ultimately fell short in a five-match set 1-4.
Harmanpreet Singh, a midfielder, captained the squad during India’s historic bronze medal victory in the Tokyo Olympics. However, this time around, coach Graham Reid has given the captain’s armband to a different player each time. Reid has made an effort to develop leaders from among the senior group.
India has also been led in the past by Amit Rohidas.
33 players participated in the two-day trials at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru, where the World Cup team was ultimately chosen. It has a solid mix of seasoned and up-and-coming athletes who will attempt to end India’s quest for a podium result at the coveted competition.
Although they are not in the starting lineup, the Tokyo Olympic team members Gurjant Singh and Dilpreet Singh will be present with the World Cup team as backups.
“Only the players’ current form and performance are taken into consideration when choosing the team. There were no additional requirements, a Hockey India selector informed PTI.
Goalkeepers Krishan B. Pathak and PR. Sreejesh have been selected. This will be their third World Cup on home soil.
The team’s defence will be led by captain Harmapreet, vice-captain Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, and Nilam Sanjeep Xess.
Young phenom Vivek Sagar Prasad will be back in the middle of the field after missing the recent trip of Australia and the FIH Hockey Pro League owing to an ankle ailment.
Manpreet, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, and Akashdeep Singh, an expert, will also be joining him.
Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, and the impressionable teenagers Abhishek and Sukhjeet Singh who made their debuts earlier this year will make up the forward line.
Jugraj Singh and Rajkumar Pal have been selected as the two backup players.
A home World Cup places added weight and strain on this event unlike any other, according to Reid, who was speaking about the team selection. Each nation selects the greatest team it deems to be available at the time and works to give that team the best possible training.
With the selection of our Indian World Cup team, “We also sought to accomplish both, choosing a mixture of seasoned and younger dynamic players who can provide something exceptional.”
The newly constructed Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela will host India’s opening World Cup encounter against Spain on January 13 before their second pool D fixture against England.
For their third pool encounter against Wales, they will travel to Bhubaneswar.
Crossover matches on January 22 and 23 will mark the start of the knockout tournament. The semifinals will be held on January 27, and the quarterfinals on January 25.
The final and bronze medal game will take place on January 29.
We’ve also had two months of excellent practise, which included a Pro League match at home and a very challenging journey to Australia against the No. 1 in the world.
We are eager to get in Odisha and complete our preparations for the next event, which Reid predicted would be both exciting and difficult.
Goalkeepers: Krishan Bahadur Pathak and Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran.
Defenders: Jarmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh (Captain), Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas (Vice-captain), Nilam Sanjeep Xess
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh,Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Akashdeep Singh.
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek and Sukhjeet Singh.
Alternate Players: Rajkumar Pal and Jugraj Singh.