Six uncapped players have been named in the Manpreet Singh-led Indian hockey squad for the tour of Belgium and Netherlands. The European tour begins with India taking on Belgium on August 9 in Boom. Chinglensana Singh has been named Manpreet’s deputy while some of the key players who featured in the World League Semifinal have been rested, reported PTI.
The six uncapped players who have been picked include goalkeeper Suraj Karkera who, had missed the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year due to an injury. The others are Junior World Cup heroes Varun Kumar, Dipsan Tirkey, Nilakanta Sharma, Gurjant Singh and Armaan Qureshi. Talented defender and dragflicker Amit Rohidas, who had an outstanding season with 2017 Hockey India League winners Kalinga Lancers, too finds himself in the squad.
India are scheduled to play five matches on their Europe tour. Ahead of their departure, the national squad will continue their camp till August 5. Coach Roelant Oltmans said that his side has been working on improving their goalscoring exploits. “We will continue to test some of the younger players in this tour in order to give them the international exposure in this new Olympic cycle. The team has been training in SAI Bengaluru where we have been working on improving our counter-control and defence apart from working on variations that can improve our goal scoring.
“It is important for the youngsters to face top teams like the Netherlands and Belgium early in their career which will undoubtedly benefit our long-term goals,” the Dutchman said.
Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar; Midfielders: SK Uthappa, Harjeet Singh, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Chinglensana Singh (Vice-Captain) Sumit Nilakanta Sharma Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh, Armaan Qureshi.