Indian goalkeeper P R Sreejesh is all set to lead an 18-member contingent in the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT). The 4th edition of this tournament is scheduled to be held in Kuantan, Malaysia, from 20 October this year.
With an eye out for the future, Hockey India selectors have named 24-year old Manpreet Singh as the deputy to Sreejesh. He replaces the incumbent S V Sunil. This decision will help India churn out a plethora of future leaders.
The captain’s say :
The captain however, appeared happy with the team. “We have an edge over the Asian countries because we are playing European and Indian style of hockey, but we need to perform consistently,” Sreejesh told in an interview.
However, Sreejesh did not shy away from admitting that the team needed to boost the forward line. Incidentally, the strike-force is without the services of Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh, both of whom have been rested. Nevertheless, things appear bright after the Indians opened the floodgates with a 5-1 drubbing to arch-rivals Pakistan.
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The Indian skipper shunned away any traces of complacency and said that he was not taking any team lightly. “We are Asian champions, but we cannot take chances.The Koreans have been playing good hockey which was evident playing against them Champions Trophy in London,” said Sreejesh.
Team News :
Defender Jasprit Singh Khular returns to the squad. Also, he will be required to take up the services of a drag-flicker. Another encouraging development sees workhorse Birendra Lakra return to the Indian squad. He had missed the Rio Olympics with an injury.
The defense looks solid with the return of Lakra and the presence of a tried and tested lineup. These include experienced Rupinder Pal Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar and Pardeep Mor.
Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet, Sardar Singh, SK Uthappa and Devindar Walmiki will be holding fort in the midfield. Additionall, in place of the rested strikers, Talwinder Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay will fill in their boots.
Indian team’s strategic coach Roger van Gent appeared confident. Moreover, he also said that India are favourites in the six-nation tournament because it’s among the highest ranking teams in the world.
The Sportsrush wishes the Indian hockey contingent all the best in the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy (ACT).