Men’s Hockey World Cup: Odisha’s Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas in Indian squad

Bhubaneswar: Two players from host State Odisha have been named in the 18-member Indian squad for the much-awaited Men’s Hockey World Cup scheduled to begin at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar later this month.

While experienced defender Birendra Lakra made a comeback to the team, Amit Rohidas too has been included in the 18-member Indian squad to be captained by Manpreet Singh with Chinglensana Singh Kangujam as vice-captain.

The team features two shot stoppers P R Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak while the forward line will see Akashdeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Junior World Cup winners Mandeep Singh and Simranjeet Singh. Youngster Nilakantha Sharma, Hardik Singh and Sumit will lead the midfield along with the skipper and the vice-captain. Apart from Rohidas and Lakra, other defenders include Kothajit Singh and Surendra Kumar.

Much to the surprise, both Lakra and Rohidas were left out from the 25-player core group for the month-long national camp ahead of the Asian Champions Trophy last month in Muscat, Oman where India finished as joint winners with Pakistan.

Odisha is hosting the 14th edition of the Men’s Hockey World Cup which is the most prestigious hockey competition in the world. A total of 36 matches are scheduled to be played during the tournament spanning over 19 days from November 28 to December 16.

Host nation and fifth rank Indian team will play its first match against South Africa on the opening day of the tournament on November 28.