The Indian squad to take on Pro League defending champions, Australia has been announced. The team will take on the World No. 2 side at the Kalinga Stadium on February 21 and 22. The team will be led by Manpreet Singh who has been chosen as the FIH Player of the Year for 2019.
Key drag-flicker and defender Varun Kumar makes a comeback to the squad to give the Indian think tank more options with the PCs after Rupinder Pal Singh justified his inclusion in the side with a resounding performance against the Dutch. Mandeep Singh who injured his ankle during training makes way for Simranjeet Singh who will bolster the Indian forward-line as the hosts continue to explore new combinations up front.
Akashdeep Singh who missed the action against the World Champions is back in the 24-man squad and will have a key role to play in the absence of Mandeep. A Hockey India source informed Sportskeeda that while Mandeep's injury was not of a serious nature, the team management did not wish to take any chances.
SV Sunil is back in the India squad while Gurjant Singh takes a breather and Nilakanta Sharma finds a place for the matches against Australia replacing Kothajit Singh in midfield. Young Raj Kumar Pal who performed admirably against Belgium has impressed the selectors enough to earn a place in the side once more.
The Indians began their Pro League campaign with a 5-2 victory against the Dutch which was followed by a shootout win.
Manpreet Singh and co. then got the better of World Champions, Belgium 2-1 in the first match of the double-header before going down fighting 2-3 in the second encounter.
The Indians are currently third in the Pro League points table with 8 points from 4 matches behind Netherlands and Belgium who had 11 and 14 points respectively from 6 games.
Chief Coach: Graham Reid
Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain), Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Varun Kumar, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad, Chinglensana Singh, Raj Kumar Pal, Dilpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Simranjeet Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Birendra Lakra, Akashdeep Singh, and SV Sunil.Published 18 Feb 2020, 14:22 IST