Gurbaj, Danish receive call-up

Experienced Gurbaj Singh and Danish Mujtaba on Friday made a comeback to India’s 21-member men’s hockey team for this month’s preparatory tour to Europe ahead of the FIH World Cup to be held at The Hague, Netherlands from May 31 to June 15.

Gurbaj, one of three senior players including Sandeep Singh and Vikran Kanth who were called back to the national camp by chief coach Terry Walsh, last wore the India colours at the 2012 London Olympics.

Since then he was given a cold shoulder by the national selectors but right-half Gurbaj fought against all odds to regain his place in the national team with his superb passing and tireless work that played a key role in securing the Hero Hockey India League 2 crown for Delhi Waveriders this year.

Mujtaba, a talented midfielder, also returned to the side, to be captained by Sardar Singh, after being laid low for nearly 10 months due to a serious injury in his right knee that needed a surgery.

However, ace drag-flicker and former captain Sandeep, who was the top-scorer of HIL this year, did not find a place in the side. The squad will depart for The Netherlands on April 9 where it will play five preparatory games, including two against the national team of The Netherlands and one against Belgium.

Squad: Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Harjot Singh. Defenders: Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh (vice-captain), VR Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh, Gurbaj Singh. Midfielders: Sardar Singh (captain), SK Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh, Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Danish Mujtaba, Devindar Walmiki. Forwards: SV Sunil, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki, Lalit Upadhyay.

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