What's the story?
Hockey India has declared the list of 32 players who will take part in the men's national coaching camp ahead of the Indian hockey team's matches against Belgium in the FIH Men's Pro League 2020. Dragflicker Varun Kumar returned to action after recovering from his nerve injury while the core of the team is the same.
After skipping the inaugural edition of the FIH Men's Pro League last year, Team India made a fantastic debut against The Netherlands in their 2020 tourney opener. They defeated the Dutch in both the encounters. The first match ended 5-2 in India's favor while the second match had ended in a draw with both the sides scoring 3 goals each in the allotted time duration. The Indian side later won the match in the penalty shootout.
The heart of the matter
The Indian hockey governing body released a statement on Saturday (25th January) wherein the names of the 32 players who would feature in the coaching camp were made public. After the announcement, the team's head coach Graham Reid stated:
"The next two weeks, we will continue to stay focused on the process we have put in place. Improved fitness was one of our key strengths and it is important we keep up the optimal level. The players got a good week's break before returning to camp so I am expecting everyone to be fresh. As I had mentioned earlier, we need to improve one-on-one tackling, that will be one of the main focuses of our camp, and we look forward to the challenge against the World Champions."
Along with Varun Kumar, the likes of SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gursahibjit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Gurjant Singh and Sumit have also been called up to the camp. Here is the complete list of the 32 players.
Members of the National Coaching Camp:
PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bhadur Pathak, Suraj Karkera, Harmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Chinglensana Singh, Varun Kumar, Dilpreet Singh, Rajkumar Pal, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Dipsan Tirkey, SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gursahibjit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Gurjant Singh, Sumit
It will be interesting to see which players make it to the final squad for the matches against Belgium which will happen on the 8th and 9th of February.