Men's FIH Pro League 2020: Raj Kumar gets the nod; Dilpreet, Ramandeep in the squad to take on Belgium
A 24-man Indian squad for the Men's FIH Pro League 2020 matches against Belgium has been announced. Graham Reid's team will take on the World and European champions at the Kalinga Stadium on February 8 and 9.
Young Raj Kumar Pal who impressed during the Sultan of Johor Cup has been picked for the vital weekend clashes against a Belgian team that has yet to lose a single match at this year's Pro League.
The Red Lions beat Australia in a shootout in their first leg match of the HPL before winning the second outright by a 4-2 margin by virtue of which they displaced the defending champions from the top of the FIH rankings ladder.
Shane McLeod's team then travelled to New Zealand and beat the hosts by 6-2 and 3-1 margins to be perched atop the points table with 11 points from 4 matches.
Earlier, the Indians had beaten the Netherlands 5-2 in the Pro League opener before winning a bonus point via a shootout win in the second encounter and currently have 5 points from 2 matches.
India had held Belgium to a 2-2 draw in the pool stages of the Odisha World Cup 2018 before the European side went on to win the competition.
Sreejesh will share goalkeeping duties with young Krishan Pathak who is assuming a bigger role with each passing tournament while Harmanpreet Singh will spearhead the defence alongside Amit Rohidas, Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, and Rupinder Pal Singh.
The incredibly talented Dilpreet Singh finds a place in the 24-man team as does Ramandeep Singh with plenty of options in the forward line including Lalit Upadhyaya, Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil, and Gurjant Singh who made a comeback against the Netherlands.
Vivek Sagar will marshall the midfield with senior counterparts Chinglensana and captain Manpreet Singh as the Indians get set to play one of their biggest matches in recent times against a team that is displaying no weaknesses whatsoever.
The Indian Squad
Chief Coach: Graham Reid
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak
Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain), Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad, Chinglensana Singh, Raj Kumar Pal, Dilpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Shamsher Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Kothajit Singh Kadangbam, Birendra Lakra, Nilakanta Sharma, Gurjant Singh, and SV Sunil.Published 03 Feb 2020, 14:58 IST