Sandesh Jhingan will lead India against China on Saturday as coach Stephen Constantine identified the defenders as one of the leaders of the side, PTI reported.

Charismatic striker Sunil Chhetri is regular skipper of the side but it is not unusual to rotate the captaincy in international friendlies. It will be first meeting between the two teams since the Nehru Cup clash in Kochi in 1997.

India are yet to win a single match against China in the 17 encounters played between the two countries so far. “I think the captain has to reflect the attitude of the coach. Sandesh first played for me four years ago. He is a fighter and a leader. He gives everything on the pitch which most of the players do,” Constantine said at the pre-match press conference.

“I think he is going to be one of the leaders for India going forward. Keeping the magnitude of the game in mind, I believe he deserves to lead the team.”

The newly-appointed skipper thanked the coach for believing in him and handing the captain’s armband. “As an Indian boy it was always my dream to represent the country. It’s a great feeling that I can’t actually express in words,” he said.

“In Chhetri bhai, Gurpeet, Jeje – we have a group of leaders which makes my job easy. We all work together to achieve the goal. The plan is to give our best on the pitch. If we are able to do that the result will follow. We’re really looking forward to play in this beautiful stadium.”