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Rio Olympics 2016: PR Sreejesh expected to take over the reins of the Indian team

Sardar Singh will keep his place, albeit not as the captain of the team.

P R Sreejesh
Sreejesh led the team to a Silver in Champions Trophy in London

The Indian Hockey team that will travel to Rio de Janeiro will be announced shortly but there seems to be a major announcement around the corner as PR Sreejesh is expected to replace Sardar Singh as the captain of the national side ahead of the Olympics in Rio. The goalkeeper, who led the Indian side to a silver in Champions Trophy earlier this year, is expected to be rewarded for his good showing in London.

Sardar Singh, on the other hand, finds himself in troubled waters after he was alleged of rape and physical violence by his girlfriend of four years in February this year. Singh was also not part of the team that finished second only to Australia in the Champions Trophy in London as the team had decided to try out fresh faces and rest a few senior players ahead of the all important quadrennial event in Rio.

However, the team’s performance turned drastically once the senior players came back in the team when they battled it out in a six-nation competition in Valencia, Spain. India could manage only a solitary win against an underwhelming Ireland in the tournament  which was meant to be dress rehearsal ahead of the Olympics. Apart from that win, the team played out two draws and was beaten twice in the tournament. This performance is what is believed to have turned the opinion in favour of younger legs for Olympics.

Sardar Singh, who has led the hockey side since 2013 is set to keep his place in the side despite losing the captaincy armband. The team would obviously need the man’s skills, who despite his sluggish form off late, is still one of the best in the world currently.

Also read: Rio Olympics 2016: Birendra Lakra will not feature in India's men's hockey squad due to injury

India would be going into the Olympics with great hopes after their performance in London where they stunned everyone and showed a lot of resilience, even against Australia. Besides, India has a stellar reputation whenever it comes to Field Hockey in Olympics as the country is the most successful in the event with 8 top of the podium finishes.

However, India’ dominance ended long back and has struggled in the last three decades and even had to face the ignominy of not qualifying for the Beijing Olympics. The team has recovered from that low and has shown signs of resurgence in recent times. Sreejesh, who was part of the side in London in 2012, will look to make amends for the team’s poor showing when he takes over the reigns from Sardar Singh.

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