In what was expected, centre-forward Rajpal Singh has been named captain of the Indian hockey team for next month’s inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China. Rajpal will lead a young 18-member side to China for the tournament to be held from September 3-11. India will be without seniors like Arjun Halappa, Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandekar and Bharat Chikara – all recovering from injuries.
The team was selected after a two-day trial on August 13 and 14. The selectors present were Col Balbir Singh, B P Govinda and A B Subbaiah along with government observers Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey. It wasn’t surprising but two of the rebel players, Sandeep Singh and defender Sardara Singh also found a place in the squad. Both of them had been issued show-cause notices by Hockey India for leaving camp to attend a promotional event of World Series Hockey.
The team’s chief coach Micheal Nobbs was happy with the squad for what will be his first assignment. “I am happy with the team. All the selectors and coaches were unanimous on the team selection,” Nobbs said. India opens their campaign against hosts China on September 3.
Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri, PR Sreejesh.
Defenders: Sandeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Harpreet Singh.
Midfielders: Sardar Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Ignace Tirkey, Manpreet Singh, Manjit Kullu.
Forwards: Rajpal Singh (captain), Danish Mujtaba, Sarvanjit Singh, SV Sunil, Ravi Pal, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Roshan Minz, Yuvraj Walmiki.
September 3 - India vs China, September 4 -India vs Japan, September 6 - India vs South Korea, September 7 - India vs Malaysia, September 9 - India vs Pakistan, September 11 - Classification Matches and Final.