Commonwealth Games 2022: Manpreet Singh to lead Indian men’s hockey team in Birmingham

Indian men's hockey team for the Commonwealth Games 2022. (PC Twitter)

Kolkata: India named an 18-man senior men’s hockey squad for the Commonwealth Games 2022 on Monday, with Manpreet Singh returning as captain and drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh serving as vice-captain.

Due to the short turnaround time between the Birmingham tournament and the Hangzhou Asian Games, which is a qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Hockey India (HI) initially intended to send a second-string squad to the CWG 2022.

However, with the Asian Games now being postponed till next year due to the COVID-19 issue in China, Hockey India has opted to field a strong squad for the prestigious event, which is set to begin on July 28.

The Indian squad is in Pool B, alongside England, Canada, Wales, and Ghana. The two-time silver medalists will kick up their campaign against Ghana on July 31.

Manpreet led India to a record bronze medal in the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year, and he will succeed Amit Rohidas, who was captain for the FIH Pro League tour of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Harmanpreet, who has been chosen deputy, is the FIH Hockey Pro League’s leading goal scorer.

“We have gone with a tried-and-tested team for the Commonwealth Games. These players have the experience of playing top teams in high-pressure games in the FIH Pro League which was a good exposure for us ahead of the prestigious quadrennial event,” chief coach Graham Reid said.

“After a brief break when we return home from Netherlands, we will resume camp in SAI, Bengaluru where we will analyze our performance against Belgium and Netherlands. While there are many takeaways from this outing in FIH Pro League, there surely are a few areas that we can improve upon ahead of the Commonwealth Games.”

India Squad:

GOALKEEPERS: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak

DEFENDERS: Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh (VC), Amit Rohidas, Jugraj Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh.

MIDFIELDERS: Manpreet Singh (C), Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Nilakanta Sharma

FORWARDS: Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek.