Two Odisha defenders in Indian Hockey Team for Belgium tour

Bhubaneswar: Defenders Birendra Lakra and Amit Rohidas of Odisha have secured berths in the 20-member Indian Men’s Hockey team for upcoming tour of Belgium which is scheduled to take place from September 26 to October 3 in Antwerp.

The Indian team will be captained by Manpreet Singh and vice-captained by Harmanpreet Singh, and will play three matches against Belgium and two matches against Spain.

Lalit Kumar Upadhyay will be making a comeback to the Indian Men’s Hockey Team after the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, while Rupinder Pal Singh, who missed out on the Olympic Test Event, makes a return to the side for the tour of Belgium. Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh joins the side after being rested for the Olympic Test Event while Krishan B Pathak is the other goalkeeper in the team. Defenders Harmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Gurinder Singh, Khadangbam Kothajit Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh have been named in the squad and Midfielders include Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Nilakanta Sharma. India’s forward-line features Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Ramandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Akashdeep Singh. 

“All the players in the squad complement each other very well and we are hoping that the team continues its good form. We are delighted to have Lalit Kumar Upadhyay back in the squad as he will play a vital role in the forward line. It’s fantastic to have Rupinder Pal Singh back in the side as well, he has improved his game since the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019. We are still looking to fine-tune a few aspects of our game before we leave for Belgium,” expressed Chief Coach Graham Reid about the team selected for the event. 

The Australian said that the tour of Belgium will be the perfect preparation for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers match against Russia in Odisha, “Belgium are a strong team and if we perform well against them at their own backyard then the team will gain a lot of confidence ahead of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers match against Russia. This tour of Belgium will serve as the perfect preparation before the all-important FIH Olympic Qualifiers. We are expecting a tough challenge from Spain as well.”   

Indian Team:  

Goalkeepers

1. PR Sreejesh

2. Krishan B Pathak 

Defenders

3. Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain)

4. Surender Kumar

5. Birendra Lakra

6. Varun Kumar

7. Amit Rohidas

8.  Gurinder Singh

9. Khadangbam Kothajit Singh

10. Rupinder Pal Singh 

Midfielders

11. Manpreet Singh (Captain)

12. Hardik Singh

13. Vivek Sagar Prasad

14. Nilakanta Sharma 

Forwards

15. Mandeep Singh

16. SV Sunil

17. Lalit Kumar Upadhyay

18. Ramandeep Singh

19. Simranjeet Singh

20. Akashdeep Singh

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