Midfielder Manpreet Singh will lead the 20-member Indian men's hockey team during their upcoming tour to Belgium which is slated to take place from September 26 to October 3 in Antwerp.
Meanwhile, defender Harmanpreet Singh will serve as Manpreet's deputy in the tour where Indian will play against Belgium in two matches and Spain on three occassions.
Forward Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, who last played for India during the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar in 2018, has returned to the squad for the Belgium tour.
While drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh will also be making a return to the team after missing out on the Olympic Test Event, Krishan B Pathak has been named as the other goalkeeper in the 20-member squad.
Reflecting on the squad, Hockey India chief coach Graham Reid said that all the players in the squad compliment each other really well and, therefore, the selectors are hoping the team will continue its good form.
"We are delighted to have Lalit Kumar Upadhyay back in the squad as he will play a vital role in the forward line. It's fantastic to have Rupinder Pal Singh back in the side as well, he has improved his game since the FIH Men's Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019. We are still looking to fine-tune a few aspects of our game before we leave for Belgium," Hockey India official website quoted Reid as saying.
Reid further said that the upcoming tour to Belgium will provide India with the perfect opportunity to prepare well for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers match against Russia in Odisha.
"Belgium are a strong team and if we perform well against them at their own backyard then the team will gain a lot of confidence ahead of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers match against Russia. This tour of Belgium will serve as the perfect preparation before the all-important FIH Olympic Qualifiers. We are expecting a tough challenge from Spain as well.
The full team is as follows:
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan B Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain), Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Gurinder Singh, Khadangbam Kothajit Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Ramandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Akashdeep Singh