Hockey India, on Friday, made a bold move to axe former captain Sardar Singh for the upcoming Hockey World League Final, which will be held in Bhubaneshwar in December. Drag-flick specialist Rupinder Pal Singh, Birendra Larka make comebacks after spending a lengthy period out on the sidelines. Forward Ramandeep Singh also missed the cut after suffering a nasty injury during the Asia Cup.
First-choice captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh will continue his rehabilitation process and Akash Chikte and Suraj Karkera will continue to man the goal in his absence.
Sardar was deployed in a withdrawn role by Sjoerd Marijne as India went on to lift the Asia Cup last month. The 31-year-old’s displays evoked mixed reactions, garnering praise for his assured passes, interceptions and reading of the game but was criticised for his lack of pace.
The Dutchman’s first big assignment saw him field what was largely a young team. If HWL selection is anything to go by, youth will take precedence as he goes about building a team for next year’s World Cup, which will be played on home soil.
Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh, Birendra Larka Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (c), Chinglensana Singh (vc), SK Uthappa, Sumit, Kothajit Singh Forwards: SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay.