HOCKEY INDIA named the Indian Senior Men’s team to take part in the 3 Nations Invitational Tournament to begin in Dusseldorf, Germany on June 1 followed by the Men’s Hockey World League Semi Final London starting June 15. The 18-member team will play two matches each against hosts Germany and Belgium before arriving in London for the prestigious Men’s Hockey World League Semi Final where India are grouped with Canada, Netherlands, Pakistan and Scotland in Pool B.
The team led by Manpreet Singh along with deputy skipper Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will see Pardeep Mor, Kothajit Singh join the defence line along with Surender Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh.
Harmanpreet and Rupinder will continue to be entrusted with the responsibilities of converting those crucial penalty corners while Akash Chikte and Vikas Dahiya will carry the onus of goalkeepers for the team in the absence of PR Sreejesh, who sustained an injury while playing against Australia in the league stage at the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Tournament 2017.
The midfield will feature S.K Uthappa, Satbir Singh, Harjeet Singh, Chinglensana Singh and the experienced Manpreet Singh and Sardar Singh. Both Uthappa and Satbir were rested for the previous tournament in Malaysia where the team won Bronze Medal.
Forward-line will see Ramandeep Singh come back into the fold as he joins SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Talwinder Singh and Mandeep Singh in the attack. Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans stated,
“The idea was to bring in a couple of changes in positions after Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Like I had said before, there are three tours this year including Azlan Shah Cup where we would like to give opportunities to younger players. Though we are taking a few players who are not that experienced, we still want to do well and the aim is to finish in Top 2 at the Men’s Hockey World League Semi Final and I look forward to see how the boys will perform against big teams.”
According to the Dutchman, the biggest takeaway from the season opener in Malaysia was the team’s improvised style of play and ball possession. Oltsman stated,
“Our style of play was good, we were fast and also when we compared statistics, we had better ball possession (about 62 per cent on an average) which is a big improvement from previous years. But I would like to see our conversion rate in field goals and PC to improve from a 20 per cent and 24 per cent respectively. We will be working on bringing in small variations in those aspects during the two-week camp in Bengaluru.”
The team resumed the national camp on May 14 and will continue till May 28 before they leave for Dusseldorf, Germany on May 29.