With the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 less than a month away, India, today, named their 18-member Team for the Men’s Hockey Competition. Indian is pitted with Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales, England in Pool B of the competition format and will start their campaign on April 7 against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Speaking about the team, expressing the confidence in the players, Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said,“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 XXI Commonwealth Games.”
Further adding that the team has a winning mindset and will aim for the best at Gold Coast, he said, “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.”
The Indian Team will be led by Manpreet Singh while Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will take the responsibilities of a Vice-Captain. Manpreet led India to the Asia Cup 2017 title followed by a Bronze Medal feat at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017.
Speaking about the challenge at the event, Skipper Manpreet Singh, confident of turning the tables this time, said, “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.”
Penalty-corner expert Rupinder Pal Singh, along with Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh and Amit Rohidas will form the core of India’s defense, with an ever agile PR Sreejesh up at the goalpost. As a back up for the senior pro, 22-year-old goalie, Suraj Karkera, is added in the team. Suraj played a crucial role in Bhubaneswar last year in his senior counterpart’s absence.
Midfield will see skipper Manpreet Singh in-charge role, to be supported by Chinglensana Singh, Sumit and Vivek Sagar Prasad. The team features a mix of youth & experience in attacking role with SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh and Dilpreet Singh all in the team.
Young turks 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. Ramandeep Singh, SK Uthappa, former skipper Sardar Singh, Birendra Lakra & Surinder Kumar are among the drop-list of the event.
India have a relatively good outing at the Commonwealth Games of late as they have finished second behind Australia in the previous two editions.
Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran, Suraj Karkera (Both Goalies); Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Kadangbam, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas (all Defenders); Manpreet Singh(C), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (VC), Sumit, Vivek Sagar Prasad (all midfielders); Akashdeep Singh, Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalacharya, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh (all Forwards)