New Delhi - The 18-member hockey squad for the London Olympics will be announced Monday even though a 22-member team was cleared Sunday for a Europe tour of Spain and France in preparation for the Games.
From among the 22, four players have already been axed for the Olympics but they are still being sent on the Europe tour for last-minute exigencies.
Rupinder Pal Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah, Pradhan Somanna and Dharamvir Singh are most likely to miss out from being on the 18-member squad (16 + 2 stand bys) for the London Games. Bharat Chetri will lead the side while Sardar Singh will be his deputy on the Europe tour.
“In Olympics there is provision for 18 members, including two stand-bys. We have almost decided the squad, pending clearance from the Sports Authority of India (SAI),” a HI selector told IANS on the condition of anonymity, Sunday.
The 22-member squad was selected after the trials at Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune June 6-7. HI selectors B.P. Govinda and Balbir Singh, along with government observer Harbinder Singh attended the trials.
In the run up to the London Olympics Games 2012, India will play a two-match Test Series against France June 28 and 30 and a three-nation tournament at Santander, Spain from June 28-30 and July 14-18.
The three-nation tournament will also feature Great Britain and hosts Spain. The tournament will be played on the blue artificial turf with yellow Kookaburra balls.
In Olympics, eight-time champions India have been clubbed with Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, New Zealand and Belgium in Group B. India start their campaign against the Netherlands, July 30 at the Riverbank Arena.
Australia, Great Britain, Spain, Pakistan, Argentina and South Africa are in Group A.
The squad for the Europe tour:
Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (captain) and P.R. Sreejesh
Defenders: V.R.Raghunath, Ignace Tirkey, Sandeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh
Midfielders: Sardar Singh (vice-captain), Kothajit Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh
Forwards: S.V. Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Sarvanjit Singh, Shivendra Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Tushar Khandker, Dharamvir Singh, Chinglensana Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Nithin Thimmaiah, Pradhan Somanna