Hockey India decided to rest some of the regular players, including captain Manpreet Singh, in the 18-man squad named on Thursday for the Olympic test event to be played in Japan from 17 August.
Captain Manpreet Singh, PR Sreejesh and Surender Kumar were given a break while experienced striker SV Sunil returned to the national team after a gap of nine months. Ashis Topno and Shamsher Singh got their first call-up for India as well.
In the absence of the senior players, Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh were named captain and vice captain.
The Indian team Chief Coach Graham Reid said that the break will help the players shake off any niggling injuries and get fresh ahead of the Olympic qualifying matches in November.
“We are resting some senior players including Manpreet Singh some of whom have had a very rigorous last 12 months of hockey and will give them a chance to shake off any niggling injuries and get fresh for the next three months of preparation for the November qualifying matches,” said Reid.
Reid expressed that the Olympic Test Event will give a few players a chance to show their mettle at the international stage.
“With no world ranking points at risk, the Tokyo test event gives us an ideal opportunity to not only get a first hand look at how Tokyo is shaping up for next year’s Olympics, we will also see some players who have not had a chance to show us what they can do on the international stage,” said Reid.
Indian men’s squad for Olympics test event
1. Krishan Bahadur Pathak
2. Gurinder Singh
3. Harmanpreet Singh (Captain)
4. Kothajit Singh Khadangbam
5. Hardik Singh
6. Nilakanta Sharma
7. Vivek Sagar Prasad
8. Jaskaran Singh
9. Mandeep Singh (Vice Captain)
10. Gursahibjit Singh
11. Nilam Sanjeep Xess
12. Jarmanpreet Singh
13. Varun Kumar
14. Ashis Topno
15. SV Sunil
16. Gurjant Singh
17. Shamsher Singh
18. Suraj Karkera