CWG 2018: Manpreet to Lead Indian Hockey Team, Sardar Dropped
Manpreet Singh is set to lead Indian men’s hockey team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, starting 4 April.
Midfielder Manpreet Singh is set to lead Indian men’s hockey team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games while the experienced former captain Sardar Singh has been left out of the 18-member squad. Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will vice-captain India, who open their campaign against Pakistan on 7 April.
The Indian team has been grouped in Pool B along with Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales, England for the quadrennial games that start on 4 April.
Sardar’s exclusion comes on the heels of India finishing fifth under his leadership at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament. However a few eyebrows have been raised with Ramandeep Singh being dropped despite his decent show in the same tournament.
Our first aim is to do well in the group stage because we have some strong teams in our pool. It’s extremely crucial to top our table and make the semis but if we do meet Australia in the knockouts, I believe we will be up for a strong challenge.Manpreet Singh, Captain, Indian Hockey Team
Seasoned goalkeeper PR Sreejesh will be making a comeback after having suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury during the Azlan Shah tournament in 2017. His brilliant show during the New Zealand tour saw him get his rightful place back.
He will be backed by the 22-year-old talent Suraj Karkera, who played a crucial part in the team's good show in Bhubaneswar, last year, in his senior counterpart's absence.
It was under Manpreet’s leadership the Indian team lifted the coveted Asia Cup 2017 followed by a Bronze Medal feat at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017.
Freeman and drag-flick expert Rupinder Pal Singh will form India’s wall of defence along with Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh and Amit Rohidas.
This team has been picked keeping in mind the team’s performance in the previous tournaments since the Asia Cup 2017. We have tried out different combinations in the past events and we believe this will be the most effective combination for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.Sjoerd Marijne, Indian Men’s Hockey Team Coach
India’s midfield will see skipper Manpreet Singh in the lead role, ably supported by the experience of Chinglensana along with young blood in Sumit and Vivek Sagar Prasad. The Indian attack will feature a lethal combination of experience and youth as SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh and Dilpreet Singh are all in the team.
Dilpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad who made their international debut during the New Zealand tour have been rewarded with this opportunity for a good show where the duo scored in important games.
Coach Marijne stated that the team has a winning mindset and will look to aim for the best in the quadrennial event. “This team has been improving with every match and while we could not produce a podium finish at the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018, it will have no influence on how we are going to play in Australia and we will be going there with a mindset to win”, said the 43-year-old Dutch Coach.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Kadangbam, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (C), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (VC), Sumit, Vivek Sagar Prasad
Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, SV Sunil, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh
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