Hockey

HWL final: Sardar left out

Sardar Singh.  

Sardar Singh has been left out of India’s team for next month’s Hockey World League Final, while Rupinderpal Singh and Birendra Lakra have returned from lengthy injury breaks. Hockey India’s High Performance Director, David John, would not say Sardar had been dropped, but exclusion from such a high-profile competition does not augur well for the veteran midfielder. The 31-year-old played in defence as a sweeper in last month’s Asia Cup; he now finds himself out of the side.

“He’s not selected for this tournament because we are trying another combination. As simple as that,” John said at the SAI here on Friday.

“Sjoerd (Marijne, the head coach) is new to the group and it’s important he sees all combinations. We saw Sardar, Harmanpreet Singh and Dipsan Tirkey play in the Asia Cup. Now we are looking at Birendra Lakra and Rupinderpal and how their combination works. This is all geared towards the Asian Games and the World Cup next year. Our philosophy is to keep giving younger players a chance and exposure.”

John insisted the door was not shut on Sardar. “No. He has not been given that information or impression. He’s like Surender, Ramandeep and Satbir; they’ve missed out on this tournament. It’s just not Sardar who’s missing,” the Australian said.

Rupinderpal last played for India in the three-nation tournament in Germany in June, following which he suffered a combination of muscular injuries. Lakra last turned out for the National team a year ago.

The team: Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera; Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Birendra Lakra; Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (capt.), Chinglensana Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Sumit, Kothajit Singh; Forwards: S.V. Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, and Gurjant Singh.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:54:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/hwl-final-sardar-left-out/article20538468.ece

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