New Delhi, Jan 27: Hockey India on Thursday named the 20-member Indian Men’s Hockey Team who will represent the country in the upcoming FIH Pro League matches in South Africa against South Africa and France which will be played in Potchefstroom South Africa from 8th February to 13th February.
The Indian team will be led by Manpreet Singh and Vice Captained by Harmanpreet Singh in the season opener.
The team will see two new faces in promising young dragflicker Jugraj Singh and speedy forward Abhishek. Jugraj, who is from Attari, Amritsar came into the Senior National Camp for the very first time in January 2022 after he impressed the national selectors during the 1st Hockey India Senior Men Inter Department National Championship where he turned up for Services Sports Control Board. Abhishek, on the other hand, is a striker who was earlier part of the Junior program and had played for India Colts in Sultan of Johor Cup in 2017 and in 2018.
From Sonepat, Haryana, Abhishek did well for Punjab National Bank in the 1st Hockey India Senior Men Inter Department National Championship which helped him earn a spot in the Senior National Camp for the first time.
The 20-member squad includes goalkeepers PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, defenders Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Jugraj Singh. Midfield will see Manpreet Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Shamsher Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad in action. The forward line includes Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Akashdeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra, Dilpreet Singh and Abhishek.
Speaking about the team, Chief Coach Graham Reid said, “With a very busy and important year ahead, the Indian team is excited to be back on the world stage and playing in the latest edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League. After a three week camp in Bengaluru, a team has been selected that includes 14 Tokyo Olympians and 2 debutants.”
“We have tried to choose an experienced group that will not only give us a great opportunity to start this season of the FIH Hockey Pro League in a positive manner, it reflects the high quality of opposition we will encounter in the opening games. We are also using this opportunity to debut 2 new players. Jugraj Singh, a versatile defender/midfielder who adds to our drag flick options and Abhishek is a strong, fast striker who loves scoring goals,” Reid added.
The Indian Team will leave to South Africa from Bengaluru on 4 February. They will play France in the first match on 8 February at 2130 hrs IST and take on South Africa on 9 February at 2130hrs IST. They will play France on 12 February at 2130hrs IST and hosts South Africa on the following day at 2130hrs IST.