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Hockey India announce World Cup squad

Hockey India

New Delhi, Nov 8 (UITV/IANS) - Hockey India on Thursday named the 18-member Indian squad for the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2018 which is scheduled to begin on November 28 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhuvaneshwar.

The team will be led by Manpreet Singh while the vice-captain is Chinglensana Singh Kangujam.

The Indian squad, who are scheduled to begin their campaign against South Africa on the opening day, features P.R. Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak as goalkeepers.

Experienced defender Birendra Lakra, who makes a comeback into the team after missing out the Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat last month due to rehabilitation, will be joined by Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Kothajit Singh and 2016 Junior World Cup winners Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar.

The midfield will see the dynamic Manpreet Singh who played a pivotal role in India's campaign as defending champions at the Asian Champions Trophy. Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will add to the experience in the centre along with young guns Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma also of the Junior World Cup team and Hardik Singh, who made his International debut last month.

The forward line will see the experienced Akashdeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Junior World Cup winners Mandeep Singh and Simranjeet Singh.

India are grouped in Pool C along with World No.3 Belgium, Canada and South Africa. They will need to finish on top of the pool to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

"We have chosen the best available combinations for the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. We had to make some tough decisions to select 18 out of a very strong pool of 34 players," chief coach Harendra Singh said in a statement.

"The final 18 are a mix of experienced and youth and they have been selected on the basis of their current form and fitness. These players have consistently shown their potential in the lead up to the showpiece event and I am confident India will put up a fighting performance," he added.

The core group of 34 will continue to train in Bhubaneswar till 23 November 2018 after which the team will finalise their preparations.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak.

Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas.

Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (captain), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (vice-captain), Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Sumit.

Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Simranjeet Singh.