In an absolutely shocking move, former Indian Hockey team skipper Sardar Singh has been dropped from the upcoming Hockey World League Final (HWL). The tournament will be held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, from December 1 to 10. Meanwhile, Hockey India (HI) selection committee called up defenders Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra for the year-ending tournament.
According to several media reports, the Khel Ratna awardee was asked to give up his customary playmaker’s role to Manpreet Singh, who will continue to lead the squad. He has been playing as the ‘free man’ in defence however, now it seems that he doesn’t fit in the plan designed by the coach Sjoerd Marijne.
While interacting with the media, Marijne didn’t reveal any specific reason behind the decision. He said,
I think this is a great combination and would especially like to see how the youngsters soak up the pressure of playing against higher-ranked teams in the world. We will have to treat every match like it the final and will have absolutely no room to make errors if we want to see ourselves on the podium.
In the absence of Sardar, Rupinder is going to make a comeback after almost 6 months. During HWL semifinals in London, he injured his hamstring due to which he has to remain out of the field. Also, Lakra is back in the side after missing the Asia Cup in October this year. Junior World Cup-winners Harmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey and Varun Kumar, along with Odisha boy Amit Rohidas, are the other defenders in the squad.
Goalkeepers: Akash Anil Chikte, Suraj Karkera
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Birendra Lakra
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (c), Chinglensana Singh (vc), SK Uthappa, Sumit, Kothajit Singh
Forwards: SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh
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