Hockey India to send two different teams for World Cup and Commonwealth Games
Hockey India are reportedly sending two different squads for the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games in lieu of the Asian Games that are to be held in November. If India win the Asian Games, they would be guaranteed a spot in the 2016 Olympics.
A senior member of the selection committee said that half the squad that will play in this month’s World Cup will be rested for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July. These tournaments will practically be selection trials for the Asian Games. The selector said “The idea is to identify our best players who have big-match temperament for the Asian Games, which is our prime target. High-place finish at the World Cup is a bit far-fetched for us and a medal at the CWG does not mean much. But if we win gold at Asian Games, then we will be assured of a place in the Olympics, which is of utmost importance to us.”
Chief coach Terry Walsh also highlighted his aim of qualifying for the World Cup saying “My aim is a front-door entry, not a back-door one. The events (World Cup & CWG) will be a big opportunity to rub shoulders with top teams, but our focus will be Asian Games in September.”
Hockey India will announce the 18 man squad for the World Cup on Wednesday with no major changes expected to be made to the side that traveled to the Netherlands last month for a preparatory tour with young striker Mandeep Singh expected to return from injury and replace Yuvraj Walmiki.
Danish Mujtaba, who is still recuperating from injury, is to be replaced by debutant Jasjit Singh, who plays for the Railways and Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
The selector said that all the current standbys are almost certain to play in the Commonwealth Games saying “Several senior players will be rested for the Glasgow Games. We will test our bench strength in these two events and form the best squad for the Asian Games.”