Sreejesh to lead; Sardar rested

Sreejesh to lead; Sardar rested

Oltmans names SV Sunil as deputy

Sreejesh to lead; Sardar rested
Indian men’s hockey coach Roelant Oltmans has rested Sardar Singh and named P R Sreejesh as the captain for the Champions Trophy tournament in London next month.

Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh and forward Ramandeep Singh have also been rested while Karnataka forward SV Sunil has been named the vice-captain for the six-nation tournament to be held from June 10 to 17.

Speaking at a press conference at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru, Oltmans defended his rotation policy, saying: “There's one moment this year when we all have to peak, and that's in August. If you look at how much these guys have played over the last couple of years, it's time for a break. At any point I want to have the core of the team, which is quite good, because if you rest them all at the same time then you can't compete anymore at a serious level.”

Devinder Walmiki makes a return after missing the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup due to a shoulder injury and the coach was all praise for the striker’s commitment.

“He's fit now, he's training hard, and he deserves a chance to show himself and try to get a berth in the Olympic squad,” added Oltmans while also refusing to comment on the extent of injury to defender Birendra Lakra.

“We never talk about our injured players. He's working hard, that's all I can say. We still wait until next month to see where he will be.”

To led the team without their talismanic player could pose some issues but Sreejesh said he was confident that there are players that could shore up such concerns.

“I think there will be differences. But Manpreet (Singh) and Harjeet (Singh) can solve the issue well. Seniors need rest before the big tournaments so that they can start the test with a fresh mind. Our main target is Brazil so we want to shape up and give opportunity to every player,” said Sreejesh.

Oltmans has retained players like Harmanpreet Singh, SK Uthappa and Nikkin Thimmaiah while goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya and defender Pardeep Mor were drafted in. The defence will also be reinforced by the return of dragflicker VR Raghunath while Akashdeep Singh returns to the forwardline.

Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and South Korea are the other teams featuring in the Champions Trophy this time.

The team is scheduled to leave Bengaluru on June 5 and after the completion of the tournament they will travel to Valencia to play in a six-nation tournament with Argentina, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and Spain from June 27 to July 5.

Squad: PR Sreejesh (Captain), Vikas Dahiya, Pradeep Mor, VR Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh, Manpreet Singh, SK Uthappa, Devinder Walmiki, Harjeet Singh, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil (vice-captain), Akashdeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah.

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