Drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh, who was named the player of the tournament in last year’s World Series Hockey (WSH), was on Tuesday named in the 18-member Indian team for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be held at the National Stadium here from February 18 to 24.
Gurjinder, who gave a string of fabulous performances last year, was drafted into the team in the place of half-back Gurmail Singh.
“Gurjinder performed extraordinarily in the National senior and junior championships. He also did well in top domestic events like Nehru and Shastri tournaments,” said Harbinder Singh, the Government observer in the selection panel. “Since I performed well in every tournament, I was hopeful of making it to the Indian team. For the last one month I have been training with the Indian Oil side (in Chennai) for the inter-departmental tournament. I am fully fit and looking forward to join the squad,” said Gurjinder.
Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh and Chinglensana Singh replaced S.K. Uthappa, Yuvraj Walmiki and Akashdeep Singh respectively in the forwardline.
“This is part of the rotational policy to test all the youngsters and build a strong squad for the Junior World Cup to be held here in December next.
“Some of the players who have been doing well in the Hockey India League (HIL) have been given the chance,” said Harbinder.
The preparatory camp for the World League, the qualifying event for next year’s World Cup at The Hague (The Netherlands), will start at the National Stadium here from Feb. 11.
India, ranked 11th in the world, will be joined by Ireland (15), China (18), Oman (36), Bangladesh (40) and Fiji (71) in the event.
India will open its campaign against Fiji on Feb. 18 before meeting Oman (Feb. 20), Ireland (Feb. 21), China (Feb. 23) and Bangladesh (Feb. 24).
The team: Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, P.T. Rao; Defenders: V.R. Raghunath (vice-captain), Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh; Midfielders: Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Sardar Singh (captain), Gurjinder Singh; Forwards: Danish Mujtaba, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh, S.V. Sunil, Chinglensana Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi. Standbys: Sushant Tirkey (goalkeeper), Sandeep Singh (defender), M.B. Aiyappa, Gurmail Singh (midfielders), Akashdeep Singh, Imran Khan (forwards).