New Delhi, May 28: Hockey India on Tuesday (May 28) announced an 18-member squad for the FIH Men's Series Finals to be held in Bhubaneswar in June.
The team will be led by Manpreet Singh and Birendra Lakra will be the vice-captain. Forward Ramandeep Singh returned to the team having recovered from a knee injury that kept him out of the field for nine months.
Amit Rohidas came back to the team in place of Kothajit Singh in defence, while Simranjit Singh found a place among the forwards at the expense of Armaan Qureshi. Rupinder Pal Singh, who was brought back to the side by coach Graham Reid for the Australia tour, retained his place.
India will begin their campaign on June 6 against Russia and the aim will be to finish on the top so that they can make it to the Olympic qualifying event later this year. "I am very much looking forward to my first FIH tournament as chief coach of the Indian team. The Series Finals is an important step in the Olympic qualification process," said Reid.
Speaking about India's preparation, Reid said, "Our focus for the tournament will be consistency of performance. To achieve this will we need to respect every opposition and give our 100 percent every quarter, each half, each game. Our goal will be to be the best team we can be."
"The Australian tour made us very aware of the level we need to play at to compete with the best teams of the world and we need to aim for that each time we train and each time we play.
"We are spending a lot of time at the moment on our circle entries, our finishing, tight marking and tackling and we want to see improvements in these areas. PCs are also important and we have chosen three drag-flickers to use during the tournament," said Reid.
The squad: Goalkeepers: Krishan B Pathak, PR Sreejesh.
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra (Vice-Captain), Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas.
Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Sumit, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma,
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Simranjit Singh, Ramandeep Singh.