The Indian hockey federation on Tuesday named a 18-member senior men’s hockey team for Australia Tour in what will be new coach Graham Reid’s first assignment that begins on 10th May in Perth.
The Indian team, under newly-appointed Chief Coach Reid, will be captained by Manpreet Singh and Surender Kumar will be his deputy.
India began this season with a silver medal at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 in March where a young team with a select few seasoned players was tested against teams like Korea, Japan, Canada, Poland and Malaysia. For the Australia Tour too, India will try a combination of youngsters and experienced players ahead of the team selection for the much-awaited FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
The Indian team will feature PR Sreejesh and Krishan B Pathak guarding the goalpost in the four-match Australia tour while experienced defender and drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh has been called-up after nearly eight months since he last played for India at the 18th Asian Games.
He will be joined by Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Birender Lakra, Gurinder Singh and Kothajit Singh in the backline.
Midfielders Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Nilakanta Sharma have been named in the squad along with Jalandhar-born 25-year-old midfielder Jaskaran Singh who has been given an opportunity to make his international debut in Australia.
The forward-line will see Akashdeep Singh, who was rested for the season opener in Ipoh, Malaysia, return to the team along with Armaan Qureshi, Mandeep Singh, Sumit Kumar Jr. and Gursahibjit Singh.
Speaking about the importance of the tour ahead of the FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final Reid said, “This tour will provide me with a great chance to get to know this group of players. It comprises a well-balanced mix, including some younger players, a debutant and a player coming back from long-term injury. To be able to play four matches against a world class opposition (including a match against club Western Australia Thundersticks) will be a great opportunity to test our players under pressure.”
Goalkeepers: Krishan B Pathak, PR Sreejesh
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar (Vice-Captain), Harmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Gurinder Singh, Kothajit Singh
Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Jaskaran Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Sumit Kumar Jr, Armaan Qureshi..