New Delhi: With the sole objective of retaining its Sultan of Johor Cup junior men's hockey title, defending champions India will depart for Johor Bahru, Malaysia tonight, leaving aside any burden of previous achievements.
The Indian colts will approach the tournament as favourites and coach Harendra Singh is confident about his wards' impressive performance in the tournament to be held from October 12 to 19.
"The team is geared up for the fourth Sultan of Johor Cup and the boys are confident to retain the title," Harendra said before their departure.
"This is a new team and they have developed themselves as a single unit in the preparation camp. Without carrying any burden of previous achievements, we will focus on playing high-level and technically sound hockey," he said.
Apart from India, the other participating teams in the prestigious under-21 tournament are Australia, Great Britain, Pakistan, New Zealand and host Malaysia.
The 18-member Indian team to be led by Harjeet Singh will take on New Zealand in their opening match on October 12 followed by games against Great Britain (October 13), Pakistan (October 15) and Australia (October 18).
"We are a new team but we have the same old dream of retaining the Sultan of Johor Cup title. We have been practicing together as a single unit for the last few weeks and are confident of achieving the goal," Harjeet said.
"Our first match against New Zealand is crucial as starting a tournament on a winning note will boost the morale of the team," the skipper added.
Goalkeepers: Abhinav Kumar Pandey, Subodh Tirkey.
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Anand Lakra, Varun Kumar, Gurinder Singh.
Midfielders: Santa Singh, Sumit, Harjeet Singh (captain), Nilkantha Sharma, Simranjeet Singh.
Forwards: Imran Khan (vice-captain), Parvinder Singh, Pawan Kumar, Aarman Qureshi, Sumit Kumar.