New Delhi: Veteran player and former captain of Indian Hockey Team Sardar Singh was dropped from the team on Tuesday, while midfielder Manpreet Singh was given the captaincy for the Games which are scheduled to be held in Gold Coast from April 4 to 14.Hockey India (HI) announced the team for the Commonwealth Games, in which, apart from Sardar Singh, experienced Indian player Ramandeep Singh has not been included. Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh has returned.Suraj Karkera was named as the back up goalkeeper in the 18-man squad.
Manpreet will lead the team while Chinglensana Singh will be vice-captain. The Indian Team is placed in group B along with Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales and England. The team will start their campaign against Pakistan on April 7. Six defenders have been included in the Indian team, with the experienced Rupinder Pal Singh is returning back to the squad. Apart from this, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh and Amit Rohidas are in the squad.
Akashdeep Singh, SV Sunil, Junior World Cup winner Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Dilpreet Singh will be responsible for the forward line.The selectors have come out with a good combination of young and experienced players in the team for the Commonwealth Games"This squad has been picked keeping in mind the performance in the previous tournaments since the Asia Cup 2017.
We have tried out different combinations in the previous tournaments and we are sure that this combination will work in Commonwealth Games 2018," said coach Sjoerd Marijne."This team has been improving with every match and while we could not produce a podium finish at the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018, it will have no influence on how we are going to play in Australia and we will be going there with a mindset to win," he added.
In the previous two editions, India have never won the gold medal at Commonwealth Games, they have finished behind Australia, who clinched the gold. But captain Manpreet is also confident of good performance in the games“Our first aim is to do well in the group stage because we have some strong teams in our Pool. It’s extremely crucial to top our table and make the semi-final but if we do meet Australia in the knockouts, I believe we will be up for a strong challenge.” said Captain Manpreet Singh.