India sticks to well-known players for Olympic hockey squad | Hockey squad

NEW DELHI Chief coach Craig Fulton and the Hockey India (HI) selection committee have put together a solid 16-member squad for the upcoming Paris Olympics, with Harmanpreet Singh leading the team. The squad features familiar faces and some exciting new additions as well.

The Indian hockey team won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics three years back. (Hockey India)
The Indian hockey team won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics three years back. (Hockey India)

Among the few surprises in the squad is the selection of Sanjay as the penalty corner specialist alongside Harmanpreet, replacing Jugraj Singh. Another notable change is the exclusion of Nilakanta Sharma, who has been replaced by Rajkumar Pal in the midfield.

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The experienced PR Sreejesh will be guarding the goal, making his fourth Olympic appearance. He was chosen over Krishan Bahadur Pathak and Suraj Karkera.

The defensive lineup boasts Harmanpreet, Jarmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Sumit, and Sanjay. Meanwhile, India’s midfield will be commanded by Manpreet Singh, Rajkumar Pal, Shamsher Singh, Hardik Singh, and Vivek Sagar Prasad.

The forward line is led by Abhishek, Sukhjeet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, and Gurjant Singh, all bringing a wealth of experience to the team.

Coach Fulton expressed his confidence in the selected players, praising their skills, dedication, and resilience during the rigorous preparation phase. He emphasized the team’s commitment to excellence and the collective drive to elevate Indian hockey on the world stage.

The squad includes alternates Pathak, Nilakanta, and Jugraj Singh, who can step in as injury replacements if needed. Players like Sanjay, Raj Kumar, Abhishek, and Sukhjeet will be making their Olympic debuts, bringing fresh energy to the team.

Notable omissions from the core probables list include some talented players, showcasing the tough competition for a spot in the squad. However, the final selection reflects a balanced mix of experience and promising young talent, setting the stage for an exciting Olympic campaign.

India’s journey in Paris will kick off against New Zealand on July 27, followed by matches against Argentina, Ireland, Belgium, and Australia. The team is placed in a competitive Pool B alongside strong contenders like defending champions Belgium and perennial rivals Australia.

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