FIH Hockey World League 2017 Final: 5 reasons to be optimistic of India's campaign
India have announced a young squad comprising of numerous promising players for the final phase of the 2016/17 FIH Hockey World League. With the squad missing big names like PR Sreejesh and Sardar Singh, it will be really interesting to note how they perform under the stewardship of coach Sjoerd Marijne.
Considering the fact that they will be playing at home, the Indian team will also carry the immense weight of expectations of the entire nation. The first round of the final, which will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, is set to start on December 1.
During the final of the previous season of the Hockey World League, India managed a creditable third-placed finish. Let us take a close look at five important factors why they may be well placed to do even better this time around.
#5 A peek into the future
The omission of former captain and talisman midfielder Sardar Singh raised plenty of eyebrows. The message was loud and clear as the impetus surrounded the development of promising youngsters likely to form the team's core in the near future. Young defenders such as Dipsan Tirkey will be aiming to make a mark on the tournament.
Apart from defenders Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh and forward SV Sunil, all of the other players are over the age of 26. Removing proven and experienced players in favour of young blood can be risk-laden. The selectors could feel that a youth first policy must be adopted in view of major tournaments like Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy next year.