Harmanpreet Singh to lead India at Olympic Test Event
Following the recent release of the probables list for the 2020 Olympic Games, Hockey India also announced Harmanpreet Singh as captain for the Test Event beginning 17th August in Tokyo, Japan.
Thrilled at the announcement, the Indian drag-flick specialist said he was already gearing up to not only play in the Test Event but also to win every match.
“When I was told that I would be leading the team, it was a pleasant surprise. It is an honour and a big responsibility. I am excited and looking forward to the challenge," Harmanpreet Singh
The 23-year-old will skipper India’s 18-man squad as they face Malaysia in their first match, followed by New Zealand and finally hosts Japan.
Young and confident
It was in May 2015 that Singh made his debut against Japan in a test series held in Bhubaneshwar, India.
With his consistent performance as drag-flicker, Singh booked his spot for Rio 2016 and was also the youngest member of the Indian team participating in the Games. His crucial role as a defender during that phase eventually saw him lead and win the 2016 Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup.
"When I look back, I feel fortunate to have come into the Indian team at a time when there were stalwart players from whom I could learn a lot. Players like Sardar Singh and VR Raghunath had a positive impact on my nascent days in the Senior team and their guidance helped me soak up the pressures of International hockey,” he reminisced.
Test Event challengers
Looking at the road ahead and specifically at the Test Event, the Indian skipper added, “Malaysia, Japan, and New Zealand are good teams to play against and see where we stand as a unit ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers. Malaysia recently beat Germany in a match and Japan too are doing well while New Zealand is coming into the event with good exposure from the FIH Pro League."
Singh also recognised that - with senior players rested - it is time for the younger members of the squad to stand up and be counted.
"it is important we step up our game", he said. "We are well-prepared, having attended a special Goalkeepers Camp and Defenders Camp. We will be playing every match with the intent to win.”
The Indian hockey team will face Malaysia on opening day 17th August.
Their next match will be against New Zealand on the 18th followed by their final game of the Test Event when they take on host country Japan on the 20th.