Hockey India has announced a 24-man squad that will take on world’s top-ranked men’s hockey team Belgium, in the two-legged FIH Hockey Pro League to be held on 8 and 9 February 2020 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, Bhubaneswar.

Raj Kumar Pal, who impressed during his time with the junior team in the past season where they won a silver at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia, has also found a place in the squad.

Manpreet Singh will continue to lead the side alongside deputy Harmanpreet Singh. PR Sreejesh, Krishan Pathak, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh are also part of the squad.

Vivek Sagar Prasad, Chinglensana Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Shamsher Singh, Gursahibjit Singh and Kothajit Singh, SV Sunil, Birendra Lakra, Gurjant Singh and Nilakanta Sharma will also be part of the 24-member squad.

India men’s team chief coach Graham Reid said the chief motive behind these Pro League matches is to identify a balanced-squad for the Tokyo Olympics later this year. “The objective of these matches of the FIH Hockey Pro League is to find the balance between giving players opportunities for Olympic selection, working out our strongest combinations and continuing to demonstrate that we can compete with the best teams in the world.” Reid said in a media release.

On the inclusion of Raj Kumar, Reid said, “Raj Kumar Pal has been rewarded for his outstanding form in the recent camps and named in the squad. He possesses extra-ordinary skills and speed, which if given the opportunity will excel against the World No.1 Belgium.”

India squad: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh (Vice Captain), Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad, Chinglensana Singh, Raj Kumar Pal, Dilpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Shamsher Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Kothajit Singh Kadangbam, Birendra Lakra, Nilakanta Sharma, Gurjant Singh, SV Sunil