Rajpal to lead India in Asian Champions Trophy
New Delhi: Forward Rajpal Singh has been renamed as Indian hockey team's captain for next month's inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China.
Rajpal, who gave away the captaincy to Arjun Halappa in the Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year, will lead a relatively young 18-member Indian side in the China event to be held from September 3-11.
In the Asian Champions Trophy, India will be missing the services of senior players like Halappa, Shivendra Singh, Dharamvir, Tushar Khandekar and Bharat Chikara, all of whom are down with injuries.
While Shivendra is recuperating from a collar bone fracture, Halappa and Khandkar are suffering from groin and ankle injuries respectively.
The squad announced by Hockey India selectors Col Balbir Singh, B P Govinda and A B Subbaiah along with government observers Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey were selected after a two-day trial at Bengaluru on August 13 and 14.
Meanwhile, two of the five rebel players – ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and mid-fielder Sardara Singh -- who were issued a show-cause notice by HI for attending a promotional event of World Series Hockey last month, have also found a place in the squad.
However, goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza and veteran forward Prabhjot Singh has been ignored by the selectors for the upcoming tournament, while Halappa is injured.
The 18-member Indian squad will have two goalkeepers, three defenders, five mid-fielders and eight forwards.
The selectors have also named six standby players for the tournament in which top six teams of last year's Guangzhou Asian Games -- Pakistan, Malaysia, South Korea, India, Japan and China will participate.
India's chief coach Micheal Nobbs expressed satisfaction with the squad he got for his first assignment.
"I think I am happy with the team. All the selectors and coaches were unanimous on team selection," Nobbs said.
"While selecting the team we kept in mind not just this tournament but also Australian tour and Champions Trophy in December," he added.
India will open the 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.
Standbys: Kamaldeep Singh (Goalkeeper), VR Raghunath (Defender), Vikas Sharma (Midfielder), Birender Lakra (Midfielder), Mandip Antil (Forward), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Forward).
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