Manpreet Singh will lead the Indian men’s hockey team, while the women’s team will be headed by Rani Rampal for the FIH Hockey Qualifiers in Odisha, the Hockey India announced on Friday. SV Sunil and Savita Punia will serve as their deputies for the event that takes place on November 1 and 2 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
The two teams are scheduled to take part in the two-legged Qualifiers where the men’s team, No. 5 in the world, will be up against World No. 22 Russia, while the World No. 9 Indian women will face No. 13 USA.
The Indian Men’s Team comprise goalkeepers PR Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak, while the outfield players named in the side include experienced drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Captain Manpreet Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Simranjeet Singh along with experienced attacking players in Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh Ramandeep Singh.
“After a good preparation tour in Belgium, it was always going to be a very difficult decision to pick the best 18 players for this tournament. We have chosen a well-balanced side with a number of good flexible options. We now need to focus on strategies against Russia, and ensure we are at our best when we step onto the field on 1st and 2nd November,” chief coach Graham Reid said about the composition of his side.
Meanwhile, India women remained unchanged from their tour of England. Experienced keepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu will guard the goal, while drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Namita Toppo, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Rani, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and Sharmila Devi will serve as the outfield players.
“We have retained the 18-member team from our preparatory tour of England. We have a good balance and mixture of players in the squad, and keeping in mind our objective of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, I feel it is important to stay in the rhythm with the same players who performed well in the preparatory tour. We now focus on making sure that we leave no stone unturned when we take on USA in the two matches,” a confident coach Sjoerd Marijne said.
The winners will qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Indian Men’s Hockey Team: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, SV Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh
Indian Women’s Hockey Team: Savita (Vice-Captain), Rajani Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo, Rani (Captain), Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Sharmila Devi