Sandeep Singh returns to national hockey team for Europe tour

New Delhi: Dragflicker Sandeep Singh returned, while injured striker Shivendra Singh and midfielder Arjun Halappa were rested from a 22-member Indian hockey squad for a tour of Europe, starting next month.

"The squad will compete in the Four Nation Hamburg Masters Tournament in Germany against the Netherlands, Japan and the hosts from July 2-4 followed by a Test series in Belgium, France and Holland," Hockey India said in a statement.

The team, to be led by forward Rajpal Singh, will play three Tests against Belgium from July 5-16 and another three-match series against France after that. They will wind up their Europe tour with two Tests against the Dutch on July 24 and 25.

"There are two changes from the squad which was declared the joint winners at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at Ipoh, Malaysia last month. Striker Shivendra Singh has injured his ankle while midfielder Arjun Halappa has been rested.

"Dragflicker Sandeep Singh, medio Ajitesh Roy and forward Hari Prasad have made a comeback while promising youngster Birendra Lakra Jr. gets his first look into the senior squad, "the HI statement read.

Sandeep had been dropped after the team`s World Cup debacle.

The team was selected after trials at Balewadi, Pune, by a selection panel comprising Balbir Singh, BP Govinda and Sita Mehta. Government nominees Ajitpal Singh and Zafar Iqbal, foreign coach Jose Brasa and national coach Harendra Singh also attended the trials.

Last year India had toured Europe to play matches in England, Belgium, Spain and Holland.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Sreejesh PR, Bharat Chetri.

Defenders: Sardar Singh, Dhananjay Mahadik, Rupinder Pal Singh, Sandeep Singh, Amit Prabhakar.

Midfielders: Gurbaj Singh, Ravi Pal, Prabodh Tirkey, Ajitesh Roy, Bharat Chikara, Danish Mujtaba, Vikas Pillay, Birendra Lakra Jr.

Forwards: Rajpal Singh (Captain), Tushar Khandker, Sarvanjit Singh, Mandip Antil, Mohd. Amir Khan, Hari Prasad, Dharamvir Singh.

Officials: Jose Brasa (Foreign Coach), Harendra Singh (National Coach), Clarence Lobo (Coach), Jugraj Singh (Coach), Pradip Dutta (Trainer), Lt. Col. BK Nayak (Doctor), Shrikant Iyengar (Physio), Ram Kishan Bansiwal (Masseur), Raj Kumar Kakati (Manager).


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