India name 18-member squad for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey

New Delhi: India on Thursday named an 18-member hockey team with goalkeeper Bharat Chetri as captain to take part in the 21st Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament to be held at Ipoh, Malaysia from May 24 to June 3.

Midfielder Sardar Singh will be the vice-captain of the Indian team in the seven-nation tournament, which will also feature Argentina, Great Britain, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand and Pakistan. Apart from hosts Malaysia, all other teams will be playing at the London Olympics in July.

Hockey India selectors B P Govinda and Col Balbir Singh, along with government observer Harbinder Singh, witnessed the trials on April 8-9 before finalising the squad. The selectors made only two changes in the 18-member squad that will take part in the Four Nation Olympic Test Event to be held in London from May 2 to 6.

Rupinderpal Singh comes in place of Ignace Tirkey in defence, while Dharamvir Singh replaces Chinglensana Singh upfront.

Four players -- PT Rao (Goalkeeper), Harbir Singh (Defender), Pardeep Mor (Midfielder) and Pradhan Somanna (Forward) -- have been named as standbys. The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament this year will be played on blue artificial pitch with yellow balls on round robin league format, culminating in the final on June 3.

India will open their campaign against New Zealand on May 24 to be followed with matches against Korea (May 25), Great Britain (May 27), Malaysia (May 28), Argentina (May 30) and Pakistan (May 31). India has won the title on five earlier occasions, in 1985, 1991, 1995, 2009 and 2010.


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