Striker Gurwinder Singh Chandi failed to make the cut as Hockey India (HI) announced a 18-member squad, led by Sadar Singh, for the eight-nation Men’s Champions Trophy to be held in Bhubaneswar from December 6-14.
Lalit Upadhyay, who has been capped nine times earlier, has been drafted in place of Chandi in the squad named by HI selectors after trials were conducted at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi on November 18.
Besides Chandi, midfielder Chinglensana Singh Kangujam has also been left out and SK Uthappa has been brought in his place.
HI selectors Harbinder Singh, RP Singh, Arjun Halappa, high performance director Roelant Oltmans, coach Jude Felix and scientific advisor Matthew Eyles attended the meeting to pick the squad which has only two changes from the one that travelled to Incheon for the Asian Games in September.
Striker Akashdeep Singh could not turn up for the trials which was attended by 26 probables because of a minor injury but he still found a place in the squad as he is likely to recover in time for the tournament.
Two players – Harjot Singh and Gurjinder Singh – were the other new faces in the squad. Sixteen players had travelled to Incheon for the Asian Games but HI has named 18 for the Champions Trophy to be competed among the world’s top eight countries.
Sardar Singh, who has played for the country in 200 matches, has been retained as the captain and he will be assisted by goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.
India will play their first match against Germany on December 6 which will be followed by clashes against Argentina on December 7 and against the Netherlands on December 9.
Speaking on the team structure and current form, Oltmans said, “Team India is in superb form and after a remarkable performance in the 2014 Asian Games and Test series in Australia, we are more than confident of doing well in this tournament. The team selected has the right combination and will give a tough time to the opponents.”
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (vice-captain); Harjot Singh
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, VR Raghunath, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Gurjinder Singh
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Sardar Singh (captain), Dharamvir Singh, Danish Mujtaba, SK Uthappa
Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Lalit Upadhyay.