Hockey: Manpreet Singh to lead India in fifth Asian Champions Trophy

After the debacle of Asian Olympics, Indian hockey team are all set for their first assignment under the captaincy of midfielder Manpreet Singh. Hockey India on Wednesday announced the 18-member team for the fifth Asian Champions Trophy beginning 18th October in Muscat, Oman.

India are the defending champions of the tournament. They defeated their arch-rivals Pakistan 3-2 in the final in Kauntan, Malaysia, 2016.  Experience campaigner Chinglensana Singh has been named as the vice captain of Indian team.

India will have two goalkeepers for the tournament- PR Sreejesh along with young goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak. Indian selectors have tried their best to choose a good defensive unit as they brought back defender Kothajit Singh Khadangbam into the side after a long time. While a 20-year-old Hardik Singh will make his debut in the national side.

In the midfield, Arjun awardee Manpreet Singh and Chinglensana will play a key role along with other midfielders for their forwards. Gurjant Singh, Akashdeep Singh Mandeep Singh and Dilpreet Singh will feature in India’s forward-line.

Sharing his view on the team selection, chief coach Harendra Singh said: “I believe we have a great mix of players in this 18-member team as there is a right balance between youth and experience.

Keeping the World Cup in his mind, he further added, ”The tournament gives us the last chance to test a few players before the World Cup Bhubaneswar and I’m sure that these players will produce the results in Oman. It is important we stick to our plans and have a good outing in this tournament so that we can wash away the bad memories of the Asian Games.”

Indian squad will be practicing in national coaching center in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, for the next three weeks before going to Oman, where Asian Champions Trophy has to be held between October 18 and October 28.

Here are the list of entire squad:

Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak

Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Hardik Singh

Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (skipper), Sumit Nilakanta Sharma Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice Captain)

Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh.

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