India names a new look 18-member team for tour of Australia
Jaskaran, Gursahibjit and Armaan Quereshi are among the new faces included in the 18-member Indian hockey squad for a tour of Australia ahead of the FIH Men’s Series Finals in Bhubaneswar. Veteran Manpreet Singh will lead the team while Surender Kumar will be his deputy. India will play four Test matches against Australia between May 10 and 17 besides a game against a top provincial side.
The team also includes drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh who has recovered from injury. India started the 2019 season with a Silver medal at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 in March where a young team with a select few seasoned players was tested against teams like Korea, Japan, Canada, Poland and Malaysia. For the Australia Tour too, India will try youngsters and test experienced players ahead of the team selection for the much-awaited FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019. The Indian team will feature PR Sreejesh and Krishan B Pathak guarding the goalpost in the four-match Australia tour while experienced defender and drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh has been called-up after nearly eight months since he last played for India at the 18th Asian Games.
He will be joined by Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Birender Lakra, Gurinder Singh and Kothajit Singh in the backline. Midfielders Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Nilakanta Sharma have been named in the squad along with Jalandhar-born 25-year-old midfielder Jaskaran Singh who has been given an opportunity to make his International debut in Australia.
The forward-line will see Akashdeep Singh, who was rested for the season opener in Ipoh, Malaysia, return to the team along with Armaan Qureshi, Mandeep Singh, Sumit Kumar Jr. and Gursahibjit Singh. Speaking about the importance of the tour ahead of the FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019, Chief Coach Graham Reid said, “This tour will provide me with a great chance to get to know this group of players. It comprises a well-balanced mix, including some younger players, a debutant and a player coming back from long-term injury. To be able to play four matches against a world class opposition including a match against club Western Australia Thundersticks; will be a great opportunity to test our players under pressure. It provides the ideal preparation for FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 in June.”