Bhubaneswar: Hockey India on Thursday unveiled the 18-member team for Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, beginning November 28 at Kalinga Stadium here, and it features two players from Odisha.
Odisha’s experienced defender Birendra Lakra, who makes a comeback into the team after missing out the Hero Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat last month due to rehabilitation, will be joined by fellow Odia Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Kothajit Singh and 2016 Junior World Cup winners Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar to form India’s defence with three of them specialized as dragflickers.
The team to be led by Manpreet Singh with Chinglensana Singh Kangujam as vice-captain and P R Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak as goalkeepers is scheduled to begin its campaign against South Africa on the opening day.
The midfield will see the dynamic Manpreet Singh, who played a pivotal role in India’s campaign as defending Champions at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy. Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will add to the experience in the center along with young guns Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma also of the Junior World Cup team and Hardik Singh, who made his International debut last month.
The forward line will see the experienced Akashdeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Junior World Cup winners Mandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh.
“We have chosen the best available combinations for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. We had to make some tough decisions to select 18 out of a very strong pool of 34 players. The final 18 are a mix of experienced and youth and have been selected on the basis of their current form and fitness. These players have consistently shown their potential in the lead up to the showpiece event and I am confident India will put up a fighting performance,” asserted Chief Coach Harendra Singh.
India grouped in Pool C along with World No.3 Belgium, Canada and South Africa will have to finish on top of the pool to secure a place in the quarter final.