Manpreet to lead 22-member Indian Hockey Team on Argentina tour
New Delhi, March 30, 2021
Experienced midfielder Manpreet Singh will lead the 22-member Indian Hockey Team to face Olympic Champions Argentina in the FIH Pro League matches on April 11 and 12 in Buenos Aires.
Besides the return of Manpreet Singh, who had opted out of the recent Europe tour due to personal reasons, experienced drag flicker Rupinder Pal and Varun Kumar who had missed out the previous tour owing to rehab are also back in the team.
However, experienced players Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep and Simranjeet Singh who were part of the Europe Tour have been rested.
The squad: PR Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak. Harmanpreet Singh (V Capt) iAmit Rohidas, Gurinder Singh, Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Manpreet Singh (Capt),Raj Kumar Pal, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Gurjant Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
The team also includes Jaskaran Singh, Sumit and Shilanand Lakra who will be playing their first international match in over a year.
The team will also play two practice matches against the home side on April 6 and 7 ahead of their League clash followed by two more practice matches on April 13 and 14 as part of their preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games this July.
"Once again, we are excited about being able to travel overseas for international competition. We are taking a 22-man squad attempting to provide a good balance between giving experience to those players who need it and opportunities for players to perform on the international stage in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics," said Chief Coach Graham Reid about the team selection.
"We will be playing four practice games against Argentina and two all-important FIH Hockey Pro League matches. To play the Olympic Champions is always an honour and a privilege in our sport and especially challenging to play them in their own country. Argentina play a different style of game to the teams we played in Europe, and we will be using this tour as a great opportunity to continue our growth and development before Tokyo.
"These games will provide opportunities to hone our skills and tactics in a period where all teams have been starved of international competition. Given how challenging it is to move around the world like we once did, we appreciate the efforts of SAI, Hockey India, Argentine Hockey Confederation (CAH) and FIH for making these matches possible," he added.
The Indian team will leave for Buenos Aires on March 31 for the 16-day tour from Bengaluru following the mandatory RTPCR tests within 72 hours prior to their departure.