Asian Games: Sreejesh to Lead Indian Hockey Team, Rupinder Returns
PR Sreejesh is set to lead India’s 18-member men’s hockey team for the Asian Games, announced Hockey India on Monday, 9 July. The senior goalkeeper will be leading the defending champions for the tournament, scheduled to be hosted in Jakarta and Palembang starting 18 August.
Midfielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam has been named Vice Captain for the tournament, and will be joined by the experienced Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad in the midfield.
Sreejesh was recently awarded the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament at the FIH Hockey Men's Champions Trophy in Breda where India returned home with their second straight silver.
India's forwardline will see Akashdeep Singh return to the squad. Experienced SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Dilpreet Singh have been named in the squad. The team's defence will be strengthened with the return of experienced dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh who was rested for the Champions Trophy. The backline will also see three other dragflickers Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas apart from the experienced Surender Kumar and Birendra Lakra.
Speaking about the team composition, Chief Coach Harendra Singh said, "We have a great mix of players who have shown their abilities in the recent tournaments. Though it is unfortunate we will be missing out on Ramandeep Singh's experience as he is ruled out of the Asian Games due to a recent knee surgery he underwent. But it is good to have Akashdeep Singh back in the mix.”
The 18 members who returned from Breda have joined the rest of the core group at ongoing National Camp in Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru after a short five-day break. The next three weeks in camp will see a mix of players take on the Korean National Team in five practice matches and the New Zealand national team in three matches ahead of the all-important Asian Games.
"While the practice matches against Korea will have a mix of players from the core group, the matches against New Zealand will be played by the 18 members who are selected for the Asian Games. I believe this will be good for the team in their preparation for the Asian Games where we will certainly go for the Gold to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," stated Harendra Singh.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (Captain), Krishan B Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Surender Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice-Captain), Simranjeet Singh, Sardar Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad
Forwards: SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh