Senior pros return to national camp

Senior pros return to national camp

The Indian team that's preparing for the Hockey World League Finals to be held in Bhubaneswar next month, received a huge boost after PR Sreejesh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Birendra Lakra and Kothajit Singh were included in the 35-men core team on Saturday. The four players were sidelined for the year owing to various injuries.

The 35-member core group includes the 18-member Asia Cup squad, players who were part of the India 'A' team that participated in the Australian Hockey League and the returning seniors. However, the final squad will be announced after a two-week long camp at the SAI South Centre here starting Sunday.

While Srrejesh, who suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury, is the only addition among the goalkeepers that feaure Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera and Vikas Dahiya, the competiton among the defenders to be a part of the Indian team is certain to go a notch higher with the return of dragflick specialist Rupinder Pal, and fullbacks Lakra and Kothajit. Rupinder Pal suffered an hamsring injury at the World League Semifinals in London in August.

"It is not only the players making a comeback after recovering from injuries who will have to prove their mettle but every single player will have to strive to make his position in the team (for the Hockey World League Finals)," said the Indian head coach Sjoerd Marijne.

"The standards to be selected in the team are high and that's good because it makes players better."

Not reading too much into the Asia Cup triumph, Marijne was modest to admit that the team needs to improve a lot more to achieve the desired results at the December event. "Together we have to become more consistent. We have a tendency of dropping our level too low in a match where the opponent ends up coming back into the game.

"If we make too many technical errors the level drops and that's one of the things we have to improve and focus upon during this camp."

Squad: Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, PR Sreejesh, Vikas Dahiya, Suraj Karkera.

Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey, Pardeep Mor, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Jasjit Singh Kular, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar.

Midfielders: Chinglensana Singh, SK Uthappa, Sumit, Satbir Singh, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, Harjeet Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Manpreet (Junior), Simranjeet Singh.

Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Affan Yousuf, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Gurjant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Armaan Qureshi.

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