Manpreet Singh replaced PR Sreejesh as captain of the Indian men’s hockey team that will go to Oman for the fifth edition of the Asian Champions Trophy, beginning on October 18.
Manpreet had captained India when Sreejesh was out injured for a few months. The last time he captained the team in a major tournament was at the Commonwealth Games this year, wherein India failed to win a medal.
After clinching the bronze medal at the Asian Games, the men in blue will head to Oman as the defending champions of the Asian Champions Trophy. They had beaten Pakistan 3-2 in the final of the 2016 edition to clinch the title in Kauntan, Malaysia.
This is India’s first tournament after the retirement of Sardar Singh.
India’s 18-member squad will also see the return of the 23-year-old striker Gurjant Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit and Kothajit Singh Khadangbam. Hardik Singh, 20, will hope to make his debut for the senior side in Oman.
“I believe we have a great mix of players in this 18-member team for the Asian Champions Trophy as there is a right balance between youth and experience,” said coach Harendra Singh.
“The tournament gives us the last chance to test a few players before the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 (starting in November) and I’m sure that these players will produce the results in Oman. It is important we stick to our plans and have a good outing in this tournament so that we can wash away the bad memories of the 18th Asian Games, and start fresh in the build-up to the World Cup in Odisha,” he added.
The Indian team will continue to train in Bhubaneswar, Odisha for the next three weeks where they are undergoing a National Coaching Camp, post which they will leave for the 5th Men’s Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2018 to be held from 18th - 28th October 2018 in Muscat, Oman. India, ranked fifth in the world, will be up against the likes of Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan and hosts Oman.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Hardik Singh
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice Captain)
Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh.