In recent years, the Indian Super League (ISL) has been a feeder system of sorts for the Indian national side. With the focus on football as a sport growing in India, the floodgates have well and truly been opened for players in the ISL to represent the Indian football team.
While playing for the country is perhaps the ultimate form of glory, there have been a few names that have failed to cement their place in the national team despite fairly decent performances in the ISL.
We look at a few players who can use the 2020-21 ISL season to earn a call-up to the national side.
1) Arindam Bhattacharya
With the rise of goalkeepers such as Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subrata Pal, and several others, it would seem as though Arindam Bhattacharya has become surplus to requirements when it comes to the national side.
The last time Bhattacharya had a taste of international action was when he was included in the 2019 AFC Championships squad by coach Stephen Constantine.
The previous season of the ISL saw the 31-year-old make 53 saves in the league, one of the highest among the goalkeepers. In addition to this, Bhattacharya played a key role in ensuring that ATK won the title and was named the Man of the Match in the final.
Needless to say, the 31-year-old will be hoping for a good outing this season as he aims to impress Igor Stimac in a bid to make it to the national side yet again.
2) Jackichand Singh
Jackichand Singh burst onto the scene when Shillong-based Royal Wahingdoh made it to the I-League in 2014 through promotion. In the years that followed, Jackichand played for several ISL teams in the league before making a mark for himself with FC Goa last season.
At the moment, the 28-year-old finds himself out of the Indian squad with a point to prove with Jamshedpur FC. Needless to say, the winger will be hoping to recapture some of the form he showed with FC Goa in the recent past and claw his way back into the national side.
3) Prabir Das
Barring the 2018-19 ISL season, full-back Prabir Das was an integral member of the ATK squad and rarely missed a match for the side. In fact, such has been his impact at the club that he was a mainstay at right wing-back in the 2016 ISL season, where ATK managed to secure the ISL title.
This time around, the 26-year-old's services have been retained by the ATK Mohun Bagan side. Despite this, Das has managed just two appearances for the national team with his place being taken by Pritam Kotal or Narayan Das on several occasions. Prabir Das will be hoping for a good showing this season as he awaits a call-up to the national team.
4) Lenny Rodrigues
The last time Lenny Rodrigues made an appearance for the Indian national side was all those years ago in 2015. Despite not playing for India ever since, the 33-year-old has a very good chance of making it to the side because of his performances for FC Goa.
Igor Stimac is looking to make the Indian national team play a much more expansive and industrious style of football and Rodrigues' style of play could be a perfect fit for the Croatian's system.
Despite being 33, if Rodrigues continues impressing in the ISL, he can be expected to give the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Sahal Abdul Samad competition in the national side.
5) Harmanjot Khabra
Harmanjot Khabra is an important part of the Bengaluru FC and it is surprising that he has not had too many opportunities when it comes to playing for the national side. Over the years, Khabra has been a standout player for the Blues and was an important part of the title-winning side in the 2018-19 season.
Having made his debut in 2011, the versatile 31-year-old footballer will be hoping that his performances on the field will give him an opportunity with the national side. Khabra is one of the few players to have won the ISL title with both Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC.Published 12 Oct 2020, 15:32 IST