Varun Kumar named in India hockey squad for Australia test

Indian hockey men’s team has included as many as four drag-flickers in the squad against Australia.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Varun Kumar returns to the 24-member Indian hockey team after a three-month absence for their FIH Pro League clash against Australia on February 22 and 23.

Defender Gurinder Singh also returns to the Indian hockey team after missing out on India’s second FIH Pro League clash against Belgium.

The 2016 Men's Hockey Junior World Cup winner will provide an additional cushion for India’s defence that conceded four goals in the two previous FIH Pro League matches against Belgium.

Varun Kumar was injured in October last year just before India’s Olympic qualifiers against Russia. The 24-year old was eventually replaced by seasoned-campaigner Birendra Lakra

Alongside Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas and vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar will be the fourth drag-flicker in the Indian squad.

India finding the right balance

After winning 2-1 in their first FIH Pro League match against world champions Belgium, the two sides played out a five-goal thriller in the second one, where India narrowly lost 2-3. 

Hence, against yet another top side like Australia, Graham Reid is looking to find the perfect balance between the Indian hockey team’s offence and defence.

India captain Manpreet Singh will continue captaining the Indian side against Australia

"After having two high-intensity matches against the World Champions, we will be facing another strong team in Australia,” he said during a press conference. “We have again gone with a strong group of players who can provide us with a good balance throughout the field and help us in competing against one of the best teams in the world.”

Australia's hockey team, also known as The Kookaburras, had a nervy start to their FIH Pro League campaign after losses against Belgium. However, they got their campaign back on track with consecutive wins against Great Britain.

24-member Indian hockey men's team:

1. Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran

2. Krishan Pathak

3. Amit Rohidas

4. Surender Kumar

5. Birendra Lakra

6. Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain)

7. Varun Kumar

8. Gurinder Singh

9. Rupinder Pal Singh

10. Manpreet Singh (Captain)

11. Vivek Sagar Prasad

12. Hardik Singh

13. Chinglensana Singh

14. Raj Kumar Pal

15. Akashdeep Singh

16. Sumit

17. Lalit Upadhyay

18. Gursahibjit Singh

19. Dilpreet Singh

20. SV Sunil

21. Jarmanpreet Singh

22. Simranjeet Singh

23. Nilakanta Sharma

24. Ramandeep Singh

Where to watch the FIH Pro League

The FIH Pro League, with the Indian hockey team taking on Australia on Friday (February 21) and Saturday (February 22), will be shown live on the Star Sports network and will be live-streamed on Hotstar. Coverage starts at 7pm IST both days.