The last time the Indian basketball team was in Bahrain, it suffered two heavy defeats that saw its chances of making the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup diminish.
The Indian hoopsters will be back in action this weekend in the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers with matches against heavyweights Lebanon and Iraq at the Khalifa Sports City in Manama, Bahrain.
The Indian basketball team is placed in Group D alongside Bahrain, Lebanon and Iraq. Lebanon and Bahrain have already clinched the direct qualification slots for the main event in Jakarta later this year.
The Indian cagers -- ranked third in the group with a win -- are in with a chance of making it to the ‘Final Qualifying Tournament’ that will see the six third-placed teams from the qualification rounds battling it out for the remaining four spots in the 16-team FIBA Asia Cup.
Joginder Singh, Aravind Annadurai return to Indian team
Indian basketball team coach Veselin Matic has received a timely boost with the return of senior players Joginder Singh and Aravind Annadurai, who missed out on the previous matches due to COVID-19 and injury, respectively.
While captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Amjyot Singh Gill are expected to continue their fine form that helped India challenge their superior opponents in the previous ties, the return of Sharma and Annadurai could prove to be crucial on changeovers, a phase where India was punished in their previous outing.
Meanwhile, the new faces in the team include Amaan Sandhu -- an NBA Academy player who replaces Princepal Singh -- Indian Navy’s centre Vivek Goti, BM Manoj and shooting guard Rajeev Kumar.
Indian basketball squad for FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers: Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (captain), Muin Bek Hafeez, Aravind Annadurai, Jagdeep Singh, Amjyot Singh Gill, Amaan Sandhu, Prashant Singh Rawat, Joginder Singh, Rajeev Kumar, Vivek Goti, Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon, BM Manoj
FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers schedule, fixtures and live India match times
All timings are Indian Standard Time (IST)
Thursday, February 18
Sri Lanka vs Kazakhstan - 4:30 PM IST
Friday, February 19
Palestine vs Kazakhstan - 4:30 PM IST
Saturday, February 20
New Zealand vs Australia - 4:00 PM IST
India vs Iraq - 6:30 PM IST
Bahrain vs Lebanon - 9:30 PM IST
Sunday, February 21
Sri Lanka vs Palestine - 4:30 PM IST
Monday, February 22
Kazakhstan vs Sri Lanka - 1:30 PM IST
Lebanon vs India - 7:30 PM IST
Bahrain vs Iraq - 10:30 PM IST
Where to watch FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers live in India?
Basketball fans in India can watch the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers on live streaming in India on FIBA’s official YouTube channel.
There is no telecast of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers on any TV channel in India.
Lead photo: FIBA Media