PR Sreejesh to Captain Hockey Team in Asian Champions Trophy
India will open their campaign in the Asian Champions Trophy against Japan on October 20.
Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh will lead an 18-member Indian men's hockey team in the fourth Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) to be held in Kuantan, Malaysia, from October 20 to 30.
With an aim to form a group of leaders, Hockey India selectors have named 24-year-old midfielder Manpreet Singh as the vice-captain of the side for this tournament in place of SV Sunil.
Defender Jasjit Singh Kular returned to the squad and will be expected to double up as a drag-flicker in place of experienced VR Raghunath, who has been rested for the tournament.
Also making a strong comeback to the side after a long injury lay-off is workhorse Birendra Lakra, who missed the Rio Olympics due to a knee injury. He will form India's part of defence alongside the experienced Rupinder Pal Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar and Pardeep Mor.
India's midfield will be manned by Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet, Sardar Singh, SK Uthappa and Devindar Walmiki.
The forward line, however, will miss the services of Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh, both of whom have been given a break. The duo will be replaced by Talwinder Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
Besides Sreejesh, the other goalkeeper in the squad is young Akash Chikte.
Scheduled two months after the Rio Olympics, the men's Asian Champions Trophy will see participation by India, South Korea, Japan, China, hosts Malaysia and defending champions Pakistan.
The Asian Champions Trophy is an important tournament for us and going by the world rankings, India will go in as favourites to win the title. The team has been upbeat since their return from the Olympic Games and are eager to start the season on a winning note.Roelant Oltmans, Coach, Indian Hockey Team
Sreejesh, however, refused to take any side lightly and emphasised on playing with caution.
We may be the top-ranked team in Asia right now but no team can be taken lightly. The defending champions (Pakistan) are known to spring a surprise and Korea too will be a team to watch out for as they have been playing good quality hockey lately.PR Sreejesh, Captain, India
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (captain), Akash Chikte
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Pardeep Mor, Jasjit Singh Kular, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar
Midfielders: Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet Singh (vice-captain), Sardar Singh, SK Uthappa, Devindar Walmiki
Forwards: Talwinder Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Affan Yousuf.
(With inputs from PTI)
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