Johor Bahru, Malaysia: Defending champions India face New Zealand in their Sultan of Johor Cup opener to be played at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here on Sunday.
The team comprising a bunch of fresh faces go into the U-21 tournament as a confident lot. With players like captain Harjeet Singh, his deputy Imran Khan, Gurinder Singh and Jarmanpreet Singh, who have the experience of representing the senior national team, will be motivating their relatively inexperienced teammates.
The Indian colts have been practising together for the last one month under the guidance of coach Harendra Singh.
With the recent triumph of the Indian team at the Incheon Asian Games, the Indian juniors aim to repeat the success of their seniors.
On the other hand, New Zealand have a reputation of punching above their weight and they will try to create some upsets in the tournament.
Speaking ahead of the match against New Zealand, Harendra Singh said, "The Team is very much excited to play against the Junior Black Sticks in their first match. Everyone in the team is geared-up for this prestigious tournament and we are looking at an exciting contest tomorrow. We want to start our campaign with a motivating victory in our first match."
Squad: 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.