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Asian Champions Trophy: Manpreet Singh to lead Indian hockey team

Manpreet Singh

Bengaluru, November 26: Olympic bronze medal-winning captain Manpreet Singh will lead a 20-member Indian men's hockey team as senior goalkeeper PR Sreejesh is being rested for the Asian Champions Trophy to be held from December 14 to 22 in Dhaka.

India are joint winners of the tournament, having shared the title with Pakistan in Muscat, Oman, after the final was washed out due to rains.

While Manpreet will lead the side, star dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh has been named as the vice-captain for the tournament, to be held in Bangladesh's capital city.

The squad for the tournament, which is India's first outing after the Tokyo Olympics, has plenty of new faces.

With seasoned campaigned Sreejesh being rested, Krishan Bahadur Pathak and Suraj Karkera will take the place under the goal.

Harmanpreet will be in charge of the Indian defence in the company of Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar and Mandeep Mor. The midfield will be manned by Manpreet alongside Hardik Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Sumit, Rajkumar Pal, Shamsher Singh and the experienced Akashdeep Singh.

The forwardline will be led by Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh, Gursahibjit Singh and Shilanand Lakra. Defending champions India will begin their campaign on the opening day against Korea.

The other teams in the tournament are Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh.

Talking about the composition of the side, chief coach Graham Reid said, "While selecting this team we now must have our eyes on the future. It takes a deep and strong squad to build sustained success so players have to be given opportunities to perform."

"We've picked a team that has a good mix of experience and younger guys who will have their chance to show what they can do.

"It is a hectic match schedule and given the COVID situation FIH and AHF have allowed 18 players to be chosen each game out of a greater squad of 20."

India will play their opening match against Korea on December 14, followed by games against hosts Bangladesh (December 15), arch-rivals Pakistan (December 17), Malaysia (December 18) and Japan (December 19).

The semifinals are scheduled for December 21 followed by the title clash on the next day.

Indian team:

Goalkeepers: Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Suraj Karkera.

Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor.

Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Sumit, Rajkumar Pal, Akashdeep Singh, Shamsher Singh.

Forwards: Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Shilanand Lakra.

(With PTI inputs)

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Story first published: Friday, November 26, 2021, 16:07 [IST]
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