For their FIH Pro League opener against the Netherlands, Hockey India have announced their men’s squad that sees veteran midfielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and young Sumit returning to the fold.
A good blend of youth and experience, the squad has experienced custodian PR Sreejesh, alongside the likes of Krishan B Pathak, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar and Birendra Lakra. Exciting names like Rupinder Pal Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Nilakanta Sharma have also been called up.
Forward Gurjant Singh will also see a place in the team after a good show at the recent national coaching camp, and he will be competing SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Gursahibjit Singh and Kothajit Singh Khadangbam for a place in the first team.
Return from injury
Chinglensana had last played in a competition back in February 2019, where he was leading the Railways side at the 9th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship (A Division). His side won the final but ended up suffering an ankle fracture in that match and missed the entire year.
Sumit had suffered an injury in June last year when he was playing in the national team at the FIH Men's Series Final. He had hurt his hand during India’s win over South Africa in that tournament.
Reid hopes to make a mark
"We have chosen a relatively experienced team to take on the Netherlands this weekend in Bhubaneswar. While Varun Kumar will be back in training this week after suffering a nerve injury during the Olympic Qualifiers, he wasn’t able to be considered for selection,” said Chief Coach Graham Reid
“We will, however, get a chance to see Chinglensana return to international competition after a full year out and Sumit returns after a six-month hand injury,” Reid pointed out. “Both have been training well and are physically fit. Gurjant has also shown great form in training and has earned his spot back in the team.
"It will be important to start strong and sharp in the FIH Pro League with our first three encounters against the top three teams in the world. We will be focusing on getting our structures right and honing our set plays as preparation for our Olympic campaign," he added.
India’s way ahead
India will be kicking off their FIH Pro League campaign against the Netherlands on January 18 and will play a total of eight home games, with six matches in January and February and two in May.
After India’s double-header against the Netherlands, India will host Belgium on February 8 and 9 before Australia visits them on February 22 and 23.
Before Indian hockey welcomes New Zealand on May 23 and 24, the men’s team will be travelling to Germany for a double-header on April 25 and 26, and to Great Britain on May 2 and 3. India will be ending their FIH Pro League round-robin matches in Spain on June 13 and 14.
Full Squad: P R Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain), Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad, Chinglensana Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit, Gurjant Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam.