Big guns miss bus to Bhubaneswar

The headline news from India’s 18-man World Cup squad revolves around players who missed the bus for a variety of reasons.

Published: 09th November 2018 07:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2018 07:11 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The headline news from India’s 18-man World Cup squad revolves around players who missed the bus for a variety of reasons. Attacking mainstays SV Sunil and Ramandeep Singh and defender Rupinder Pal Singh, a veteran of many a blue-riband competition, were all omitted as the likes of Biren Lakra, who sustained an injury at the Asian Games, got the nod. Interestingly, seven of the 18 had tasted success at the Junior World Cup in 2016.

Was that a clear ploy by coach Harendra Singh or did it happen by chance? While it did happen by accident, the coach who led the Men In Blue to victory at Lucknow in that Junior World Cup, feels ‘this is an all-round squad... one of the contenders to win the tournament’. He also elaborated on why the likes of Sunil, one of the very few Indian players who can run at pace at the opposition defence, couldn’t be picked. 

“The call to not pick him for the final 18 was based on the physio’s recommendation,” Harendra said. While the knee injury he picked up during a training session last month had completely healed, the coach did not want to select a player who has not played too many matches after recovery. Ramandeep’s exclusion was also on similar lines. He is yet to recover after hurting his knee at the Champions Trophy in June. 

Harendra was more intimate when speaking about Rupinder’s absence. “That was based on his performances in the last 3-4 months. We want to pick players based on their performance in training and competitive environment, we don’t want to pick names.” That’s a tacit admission that the 27-year-old was dropped. Considering that he is a penalty corner specialist, it may hamper India’s chances from dead balls if Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar — the specialists in the squad — don’t find their touch.

But Harendra doesn’t believe it will be an issue. “This is the best combination we have at our disposal and I’m satisfied with the team we have selected,” he said. “Our players are capable of playing the hockey we seek, with most of our midfielders and forwards capable of inter-changing.”

Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Pathak. Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Biren Lakra, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas. Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (in pic), Chinglensana Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Sumit. Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Lalit Kumar, Simranjeet Singh.

Stay up to date on all the latest Sport news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp