Star goal-keeper P.R. Sreejesh will lead an 18-member Indian squad for the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Champions Trophy in London from June 10 to 17, Hockey India announced on Tuesday.
Striker S.V. Sunil will be Sreejesh’s deputy in the side which has a mix of experience and youth as part of preparations for the upcoming Rio Olympics.
Defender Harmanpreet Singh, one of the outstanding performers from the Silver Medal winning Sultan Azlan Shah Cup team, finds himself retained in the squad, and is joined by his junior colleagues, Harjeet Singh and goal-keeper Vikas Dahiya.
Dahiya will be a back-up to the returning Sreejesh in the team.
Sreejesh and defender V.R. Raghunath, who were rested for Malaysia, are back in the squad to provide a strong backbone to a strong looking Indian lineup.
“At the Champions Trophy, our aim will be to put in a class performance, and finish as high as we can. Finishing with a medal at the tournament will give us a lot of confidence going into the Olympics,” Sreejesh said in a statement.
Chief coach Roelant Oltmans also echoed the same sentiments. “It is important that we approach the tournament, not just with a view to winning it, but also to execute our tactics well, and learn from past mistakes and keep evolving.”
“This will ensure, that as a team we are prime placed when we reach Rio, physically, mentally and tactically,” he added.
Squad: P.R. Sreejesh (Captain), Vikas Dahiya, Pradeep Mor, V.R. Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Devinder Sunil Walmiki, Harjeet Singh, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, S.V. Sunil (Vice-Captain), Akashdeep Singhm, Nikkin Thimmaiah.