NEW DELHI: Hockey India named a 20-member Indian Men's Hockey team for the forthcoming Asia Cup scheduled to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from May 23 to June 1.
The prestigious event which is a World Cup qualifier will see India, Japan, Pakistan, and hosts Indonesia in pool A while Malaysia, Korea, Oman, and Bangladesh are grouped in pool B.
The Defending Champions India will be led by Olympic Bronze Medalists Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra will shoulder the responsibility as Vice Captain. The team will see as many as 10 players make their senior India debut. This includes FIH Hockey Men's Junior World Cup players Yashdeep Siwach, Abhisek Lakra, Manjeet, Vishnukant Singh and Uttam Singh. Also new in the team will be Mareeswaren Sakthivel, Sheshe Gowda BM, Pawan Rajbhar, Abharan Sudev and S Karthi.
The Indian team includes goalkeepers Pankaj Kumar Rajak, Suraj Karkera, defenders Rupinder Pal Singh, Yashdeep Siwach, Abhisek Lakra, Birendra Lakra, Manjeet, Dipsan Tirkey, Vishnukant Singh, Raj Kumar Pal, Mareeswaren Sakthivel, Sheshe Gowda BM, Simranjeet Singh. Forwards Pawan Rajbhar, Abharan Sudev, SV Sunil, Uttam Singh, and S.Karthi have also been named in the squad.
Junior World Cup player Maninder Singh and Nilam Sanjeep Xess have been named as replacement players while Pawan, Pardeep Singh, Ankit Pal and Angad Bir Singh have been named as standbys.
Speaking about the team composition, Coach BJ Kariappa said, "The team is a good mix of experienced senior players and newcomers, many of whom have played at the international level in different age-group matches but have not made their Senior India debut. Since India has already qualified for the FIH Men's World Cup by virtue of being the hosts, this will be a good platform for us to try out this new group and test how these players utilize the opportunity."
Former India Captain and two-time Olympian Sardar Singh who will also accompany the team as Coach expressed that the players have shown great potential over the last few months during the national camp.
"This is a very talented group of players and I have seen them work really hard over the past few weeks to earn a place in the team. On a personal front, this will be my first tournament as India Coach and I am looking forward to this new experience," stated Sardar.
Indian Men's Team Squad for Asia Cup 2022:
Goalkeepers Pankaj Kumar Rajak, Suraj Karkera
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh (Captain), Yashdeep Siwach, Abhisek Lakra, Birendra Lakra (Vice Captain), Manjeet, Dipsan Tirkey
Midfielders: Vishnukant Singh, Raj Kumar Pal, Mareeswaren Sakthivel, Sheshe Gowda BM, Simranjeet Singh
Forwards: Pawan Rajbhar, Abharan Sudev, SV Sunil, Uttam Singh, S.Karthi
Replacement Players: Maninder Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess
Standbys: Pawan, Pardeep Singh, Ankit Pal and Angad Bir Singh.