NEW DELHI: Hockey India (HI) today announced a 33-member core probables list for the national camp, which will commence at the Sports Authority of India in Bengaluru from March 14.
The national camp under chief coach Roelant Oltmans includes as many as 11 players from the last year's gold medal junior World Cup winning squad. The junior team players were also incredible at the recently-concluded Hockey India League (HIL), where they held their nerves against some of the world's best hockey stars.
While Mandeep Singh, Harjeet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Vikas Dahiya have been part of the senior men's camp earlier, defenders Dipsan Tirkey and Gurinder Singh, midfielders Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Manpreet and Simranjeet Singh, forward Gurjant Singh are the latest inclusions in the core group, which will be put through the grind ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in April, followed by the Men's Hockey World League Semi-Final London 2017 in June.
Twenty-year-old goalkeeper Suraj Karkera from Mumbai has also received a call-up for the senior men's camp. He was a part of the junior India men's team in the four-nation International Junior hockey tournament in Valencia last year.
Amit Rohidas, who formed an integral part of the 2017 HIL winners Kalinga Lancers defence structure, too finds a place in the core probables list.
The squad contains established stars likes PR Sreejesh, Sardar Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, SV Sunil, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, SK Uthappa, Chinglensana Singh, Talwinder Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Surender Kumar, Manpreet Singh among others.
"It was a busy start to the new year with the HIL, where I feel some of the players did extremely well under pressure situations. Like I had mentioned earlier, the selection process for the core probables was based on the players' performances in the year 2016 as well as the 2017 HIL. This is an important year for Indian hockey with the Men's Hockey World League Semi-Final London 2017 and the World League Final in December," said Oltmans.
"This year's performances will be vital in bringing us fresh perspective towards building our game further as we move into the year of the Men's World Cup in 2018. I believe the players will be mentally and physically ready for a new challenge this calender year after a two-week break post the HIL," he added.
The 62-year-old Dutchman will be joined by new recruits Hans Streeder, who has replaced Roger van Gent as the Analytical Coach for the senior men's team, and Scott Conway, who has been brought in as the new Scientific Advisor.
While Streeder was earlier with the junior men's Dutch squad and has been in the coaching profession since 1983, Conway from Australia has been practicing Sports Science since 2011 and was previously with the Institute of Sukan Negara & Malaysian Hockey Confederation.