Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Vivek Sagar Prasad was on Thursday named as captain of the 18-member Indian team that will defend its title at the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup to be held at Bhubaneswar from November 24.
The event, slated to end on December 5, will witness 16 teams from across the globe vie for the honours which were last won by India at Lucknow in 2016.
Hockey India on Thursday named the 18-member Indian junior men’s hockey team for the event with Vivek Sagar Prasad as captain and defender Sanjay, who was part of the India U-18 team that won silver at the Youth Olympic Games 2018 in Buenos Aires, as vice-captain. The selection trials ended on Wednesday.
The 18-member team includes Shardanand Tiwari, Prashant Chauhan, Sudeep Chirmako, Rahul Kumar Rajbhar, Maninder Singh, Pawan, Vishnukant Singh, Ankit Pal, Uttam Singh, Sunil Jojo, Manjeet, Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Abhishek Lakra, Yashdeep Siwach, Gurmukh Singh, and Araijeet Singh Hundal.
Dinachandra Singh Moirangthem and Boby Singh Dhami have been chosen as alternate players who will be allowed to play only if there is an injury or someone in the 18-member squad is ruled out of the tournament due to Covid-19, Hockey India said in a release on Thursday.
Speaking about the team selection, Chief Coach Men, Graham Reid said, “To choose the best 18 players to represent their country is one of the hardest things to do in sport. Each of these guys have put their everything into trying to make this team for the last 12-18 months. Through Covid, through sanctions and lockdowns, huge sacrifices have been made.”
“We have chosen a group of 20 players, a team of 18, and two alternate players, who we believe gives us the best chance of defending our title as Junior World Cup Champions. It is a well-balanced side with a lot of flexibility and flare. The key to these guys performing on the big stage will be to trust in each other and trust in their preparation,” Reid was quoted as saying in the Hockey India release.
Reid further spoke of the team’s ongoing preparations in Bhubaneswar where they are putting in the hard yards needed to succeed in the tournament. “The players have been thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to train for the last few days at Kalinga Hockey Stadium. Even though the ground will be empty, the Olympics have proven that the spectacle of hockey can still be enjoyed by everyone involved,” Reid said.
India start their campaign on November 24 against France and will take on Canada on the next day in the round-robin league. Their last league match in the four-team pool will be against Poland on November 27. The top two teams from the preliminary round groups will qualify for the knockout quarterfinals, which will be played on December 1.
Among the other teams in the fray are Belgium, The Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Canada, South Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, France, Chile, Spain, and USA.
The India U-21 Team: Shardanand Tiwari, Prashant Chauhan (GK), Sanjay (VC), Sudeep Chirmako, Rahul Kumar Rajbhar, Maninder Singh, Pawan (GK), Vishnukant Singh, Ankit Pal, Uttam Singh, Sunil Jojo, Manjeet, Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Vivek Sagar Prasad (C), Abhishek Lakra, Yashdeep Siwach, Gurmukh Singh, Araijeet Singh Hundal.
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