Midfielder Sardar Singh will captain the Indian senior men’s hockey team in the upcoming FIH Hockey World League Round 3 (semifinals) at Rotterdam, The Netherlands from 13-23 June 2013.
Drag-flicker Vokkaliga Raghunath will be Sardar’s deputy. It may be mentioned here that both Sardar and Raghunath donned the same roles in the 34th Champions Trophy in Melbourne as well as in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 tournament held in New Delhi.
The duo was rested for the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup held in Ipoh. Sardar is, in fact, the most capped player with 167 internationals under his belt.
The squad was picked by Hockey India Selectors Col. Balbir Singh, B P Govinda, Director High Performance Roelant Oltmans and Chief Coach Michael Nobbs alongwith Government Observer Harbinder Singh.
Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh makes a comeback to the national side after last appearing in the 2012 London Olympics.
Experienced forward Shivendra Singh also stages a national comeback after being cold-shouldered since the 2012 London Olympics.
Midfielder Birendra Lakra marks a return to the national side after being rested for the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Birendra along with captain Sardar would be complemented by Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh and rookie Gurmail Singh.
SV Sunil, who was among four rested the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, is also back in the national fold.
Shivendra and Sunil would lend the experience quotient to the forwardline.
Talented youngsters like 18-year-old Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Chinglensana Singh and Nithin Thimmaiah with the rapidly improving Dharamvir Singh would look to bolster the attacking partnership of Sunil and Shivendra.
PR Sreejesh, who was outstanding in the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, will spearhead the goalkeeping duties. He will be supported by PT Rao.
The national team is currently attending the final camp at the Netaji Subhas Southern Centre (NSSC) in Bengaluru.
The team will depart for Rotterdam on June 5.
India are placed in Pool B with hosts The Netherlands, New Zealand and Ireland while Australia, Spain, Belgium and fourth team (to be known after the conclusion of the final tournament of FIH World League Round 2 on 2 June 2013) are placed in Pool A.
India will launch their HWL campaign against Ireland on June 13.
Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh, P T Rao
Defenders: VR Raghunath (vice-captain), Sandeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Harbir Singh Sandhu
Midfielders: Birendra Lakra, Sardar Singh (captain), Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Gurmail Singh
Forwards: SV Sunil, Shivendra Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah, Dharamvir Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh.