The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) announced their 12-player squad for the second window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers 2021, on Sunday. The qualification tournament will take place in Manama, Bahrain, later this week. The Indian team squares off against Lebanon on November 27 and Bahrain on November 29, in their Group D fixtures.
India finished the first window of the competition with a 1-1 record, and currently stand at 3rd in Group D. They lost their opening fixture against Bahrain by a single point 68-67 and went on to beat Iraq 75-94 earlier in February this year. India's win over Iraq marked its first victory at the Asia level since September 2016.
Amjyot Singh & Muin Bek Hafeez as players to watch out for, Amritpal Singh misses out
Veteran forward Amjyot Singh, who was a star performer for India in the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, has returned to the side. He is joined by experienced campaigners Prasanna Ventakesh, Jagdeep Singh, and the skipper, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi. Twenty-eight-year-old Amyjot, who hails from Chandigarh, was a part of the Indian team at the won the gold medal at the 2014 Lusofonia Games.
Muin Bek Hafeez was a revelation for the Indian team during the first window of the qualifiers, and was phenomenal against Bahrain and Iraq, with +22.5 EFF. He had a fantastic outing against the latter with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals. Hafeez's ability to play an all-round game will be vital for India's chances ahead.
However, the absence of Amritpal Singh and Aravind Annadurai could be a setback, as both players had a played a crucial role for India in the first window. The Indian team will depend on their youth prospects, Seijin Mathew and Princepal Singh, to help the team qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021.
A total of 24 teams are currently competing in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers 2021. After the conclusion of the three windows, the top-two placed teams from each of the six groups will directly qualify for Asia Cup 2021.
Meanwhile, the third-placed sides of each group will be divided into two divisions of three teams each. Ultimately, the top two teams from each division will advance to the tournament.
Indian basketball team for FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers: Vishesh Bhirguvanshi (C), Muin Bek Hafeez, Prasanna Venkatesh, Princepal Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Amjyot Singh, Prashant Singh, Sahaj Patel, Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon, Anil Kumar Gowda, Sejin Mathew, and Sharad Dadich.