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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

As many as three Odia players have found place in the 20-member Indian men's hockey team which was announced by Hockey India on Friday for the upcoming Men's Asian Champions Trophy, to be played in Dhaka from December 14-22, 2021.

 

The Odia players to have been selected to the Indian squad include Dipsan Tirkey, Shilanand Lakra and Nilam Sanjeep Xess. While Manpreet Singh has been appointed the skipper of the team, Harmanpreet Singh will be his deputy.


The team includes goalkeepers Krishan B Pathak and Suraj Karkera. India's defence will see Harmanpreet lead the charge along with Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Nilam, Dipsan, Varun Kumar and Mandeep Mor. 


With this line-up India will have four options for dragflick. The midfield will see Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Sumit, Rajkumar Pal, Shamsher Singh and the experienced Akashdeep Singh. The forward line will be led by Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh, Gursahibjit Singh and Shilanand. 


Talking about the selection, chief coach Graham Reid said, "While selecting this team we now must have our eyes on the future. It takes a deep and strong squad to build sustained success. Therefore, players have to be given opportunities to perform." 
 

"We have picked a team that has a good mix of experience and younger guys who will have their chance to show what they can do. It is a hectic match schedule and given the Covid situation, FIH has allowed 18 players to be chosen each game out of a greater squad of 20. The Asian Champions Trophy is a world class event that will provide all teams a fantastic opportunity to start the next Olympiad with much needed competition. We are looking forward to the challenge," he added. 
 

Defending champions India will start their campaign against Korea on December 14, followed by their match against hosts Bangladesh on December 15. The third match will be against arch-rivals Pakistan on December 17. India will take on Malaysia the next day followed by their match against Japan on December 19. The semifinals will be played on December 21 followed by the summit clash on December 22. In the previous edition of the event held in Muscat, India had jointly lifted the title along with Pakistan as the final was called off due to incessant rains.


The squad: Goalkeepers: Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Suraj Karkera; Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (VC), Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor; Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh (C), Jaskaran Singh, Sumit, Rajkumar Pal, Akashdeep Singh, Shamsher Singh; Forwards: Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh, Gursahibjit Singh, Shilanand Lakra.
 

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