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HI announces 35-member Indian men's core group

Bengaluru, Aug 25 (PTI) A 35-member core group, which includes as many as 13 players from last year's Junior World Cup winning team, will be put to test in the national coaching camp, commencing here from August 26.

With just about 45 days to go for the Hero Asia Cup in Dhaka, the Indian men's hockey team will be back to the grind at Sports Authority of India here for a 40-day national camp.

Junior World Cup winning team's goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya, defenders Dipsan Tirkey, Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh and Varun Kumar, midfielders Harjeet Singh, Manpreet Junior, Nilakanta Sharma and Sumit, and forwards Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Armaan Qureshi along with goalkeeper Suraj Karkera, who was part of the junior core group last year, will be part of the national camp.

The Indian team, in their previous outing, had defeated World No.4 Netherlands in back-to-back matches, followed by a win against Austria.

The five-match Europe Tour saw six players make their debut with Varun Kumar, Gurjant Singh and Armaan Qureshi scoring their first international goals for the senior squad.

While there is a strong presence of youngsters, the likes of experienced Sardar Singh, SV Sunil, Kothajit Singh, Chinglensana Singh, SK Uthappa, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh among others will add to the fervour at the camp.

"With new comers putting up a good performance in the Europe Tour, it's an advantage for us to have a strong and bigger pool of players who will be available for selections for the Hero Asia Cup 2017," said the 25-year-old Manpreet Singh, who led India to three successive wins in Europe.

Manpreet said that the 40-day camp would be a grilling experience, where players will have to compete against each other for a spot in the final 18.

"There is no doubt that we need to finish the Hero Asia Cup 2017 as winners. This is an important camp where we need to set our game right and ensure there are no weak points before leaving for the tournament.

"The players have come with a mindset to give more than 100 per cent in each session. Each one of us, regardless of being a senior or junior, will have to earn our place in the team and am sure this competition will help improve our overall performance as a team," said Manpreet.

Core Group:

Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, P R Sreejesh, Vikas Dahiya, Suraj Karkera.

Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey, Pardeep Mor, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Jasjit Singh Kular, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar.

Midfielders: Chinglensana Singh, S K Uthappa, Sumit, Satbir Singh, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Harjeet Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Manpreet Junior, Simranjeet Singh.

Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Affan Yousuf, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Gurjant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Armaan Qureshi

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