BENGALURU: Jasjit Singh Kular, Talwinder Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay are the new faces in the Indian men’s hockey team that will take part in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan (Malaysia) from October 20. Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh will lead the side, with Manpreet Singh being named vice-captain.
Drag flicker VR Raghunath didn’t make the squad due to injury, so Kular could be given penalty corner duties, along with Rupinderpal Singh.
“It is time for a new cycle, and a new beginning for us after the Olympics,” said Sreejesh on the new players in the team. “Youngsters have been added, especially in the forward-line and defence.
“It’s an important phase for youngsters, because we are looking at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Players like Yousuf and Lalit have been among the core probables, but everybody could not get a chance before Rio,” he added.
Strategic coach Roger van Gent said: “The camp is going well. Before Roelant Oltmans left (with the junior team for Australia), we discussed things that needed to improve. The team is working well. We had a fitness test on Wednesday, and players look fit. Raghunath has injured his elbow joint, and requires three weeks of rehabilitation. Manpreet is injured, and so is (SV) Sunil, but they will manage to play. We’re currently working on them.”
The team has also been analysing their performances in Rio. “Oltmans spoke about the running lines for forwards, the combination in midfield and receiving the ball, and the defense line. We’ve been working on these things, and there has been improvement,” concluded Van Gent.
Squad: PR Sreejesh (C), Akash Chikte, Rupinderpal Singh, Pardeep Mor, Jasjit Singh Kular, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet Singh (VC), Sardar Singh, SK Uthappa, Devindar Walmiki, Talwinder Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Affan Yousuf.