Core hockey squad announced; Sardar left out

Unnikrishnan G

Bengaluru, September 12: Former captain Sardar Singh did not find a place in the 25-member core group named by Hockey India on Wednesday (September 12) for the national camp at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, Bhubaneswar, beginning from September 16.

The players will report to coach Harendra Singh for a 30-day-long training that concludes on October 14. From there, the team will travel for the 10-day Asian Champions Trophy to begin on October 18 in Oman where India are the defending champions.

After settling for a bronze at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta India will be looking to regroup in the lead up to the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.

"The Bronze was a consolation and there is no excuse for not making it to the final of the 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang. There is no point looking back at the loss but now it's critical for us to look ahead with a fresh, positive approach," said Harendra Singh.

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The core group includes three goalkeepers PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera and Krishan Pathak while defender Amit Rohidas has been left out from the Asian Games 2018 squad.

Among midfielders the notable absentee is Sardar Singh, while Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Sumit, Simranjit Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Vivek Sagar Prasad have been selected.

Ace striker Ramandeep Singh, who underwent a knee surgery after sustaining an injury during the FIH Champions Trophy, and defender Birendra Lakra, will be under rehab from September 16, said a HI press release.

"The idea of training in Bhubaneswar was to get acclimatized and we are also looking at playing on the newly-laid turf at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium which will host the World Cup. This is a very important phase in the lead up to the season Finale starting on November 28 and we intend to critically analyse our mistakes during the 18th Asian Games not just in our match against Malaysia but the other matches too.

"Asian Champions Trophy will be one tournament where we will be executing the changes made during this national camp which is why the tournament in Oman will be very important for us," said Harendra Singh.

The List: Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera, Krishan Bahadur Pathak; Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Pardeep Singh; Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Sumit, Simranjit Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Vivek Sagar Prasad; Forwards: S V Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Sumit Kumar.

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