Sreejesh to lead experimental Indian team
|Source: The Hitavada Date: 12 Apr 2017 09:31:15|
STAR custodian PR Sreejesh will lead an 18-member Indian hockey team at the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, starting April 29.
Manpreet Singh will be Sreejesh’s deputy in the squad that also has members from the junior World Cup winning squad.
Defender Gurinder Singh, midfielders Sumit and Manpreet were part of the Junior World Cup winning squad and are slated to make their debut at the tournament.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper from Mumbai Suraj Karkera who was part of the junior squad that toured England in 2016 and participated in the EurAsia Cup in Russia and the Four-Nations Tournament last year, too finds his name in the team.
Ahead of the national camp for the senior men’s core probable group, chief coach Roelant Oltmans had emphasized on giving juniors the right exposure with a vision of building a team that would bring laurels in the 2018 World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
As a first step towards that goal, the Chief Coach has inducted these youngsters from the junior men’s team.
The team also features drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh, Junior World Cup winning skipper Harjeet Singh and forward Mandeep Singh.
The trio, who were instrumental in the Indian team’s success at the Junior World Cup, have played at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in the previous edition where India won a silver after losing to Australia in the final.
Squad: Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (C), Suraj Karkera; Defenders: Pardeep Mor, Surender Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh; Midfielders: Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Sumit, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh (VC), Harjeet Singh, Manpreet; Forwards: SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Affan Yousuf, Akashdeep Singh.
‘Azlan Shah a platform to test our new style’
THE upcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be a platform for the Indian men’s hockey team to test its new methods and showcase its potential ahead of this year’s big ticket events, says chief coach Roelant Oltmans.
“This (Azlan Shah Cup) is not the most important tournaments for us. The most important thing for us in this tournament will be to showcase (our potential). We are trying to introduce a new style of play before we embark on big tournaments, including the Hockey World League and Asia Cup,” the Dutchman told reporters after announcing the squad at the Sports Authority of India.
Oltmans said India will focus more on its forward line in the Azlan Shah Cup.
“We want to score more and more goals. Winning a medal for the country is all about scoring goals and to execute this plan we need more goal-scoring players like Affan Yousuf,” he said.
Asked, who he considers to be the underdogs in the tournament, Oltmans said: “Japan has not played any international matches and it is difficult to know who are the underdogs. Also, there is England who did not have very good outing last year. They will be eager to perform better. So, let us wait and watch.”