Hockey India has named an 18-member men’s team for the Australia tour, beginning May 10 in Perth. Under newly appointed coach Graham Reid, the team will be led by Manpreet Singh. India started this season with a silver medal at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March, where a young squad with a few seasoned players were tested against the likes of Korea, Japan, Canada, Poland, and Malaysia. For the Australia tour, India will again try youngsters and test experienced players ahead of the team selection for the much-awaited FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019.
India will feature PR Sreejesh and Krishan B Pathak guarding the goalpost in the four-match series against Australia, while experienced defender and drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh has been called-up after nearly eight months since he last played at the 18th Asian Games. He will be joined by vice-captain Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Birender Lakra, Gurinder Singh and Kothajit Singh in the backline.
Midfielders Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, and Nilakanta Sharma have been named in the side along with Jaskaran Singh who has been given an opportunity to make his international debut. The forward-line will see Akashdeep Singh, who was rested for the season opener in Ipoh, return to the team along with Armaan Qureshi, Mandeep Singh, Sumit Kumar Jr., and Gursahibjit Singh.
“This tour will provide me with a great chance to get to know this group of players. It comprises a well-balanced mix, including some younger players, a debutant and a player coming back from a long-term injury. To be able to play four matches against a world-class opposition including a match against club Western Australia Thundersticks; will be a great opportunity to test our players under pressure. It provides the ideal preparation for FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 in June,” coach Reid said on Tuesday.