New Delhi, Hockey India on Friday announced the 20-member men’s team for their upcoming tour of Belgium, scheduled to take place from September 26 to October 3 in Antwerp, Belgium. The Indian team led by Manpreet Singh and vice-captained by Harmanpreet Singh will play three matches against Belgium and two matches against Spain.
Lalit Kumar Upadhyay made a comeback in the team after the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 event, while Rupinder Pal Singh, who missed out on the Olympic Test Event, returned to the side for the tour of Belgium. Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who was rested for the Olympic Test Event, has now joined the side while Krishan B Pathak is the other goalkeeper in the team.
Defenders Harmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Gurinder Singh, Khadangbam Kothajit Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh have been also named in the squad and midfielders include Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Nilakanta Sharma. India’s forward-line features Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Ramandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Akashdeep Singh.
‘All the players in the squad complement each other very well and we are hoping that the team continues 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,’ expressed Chief Coach Graham Reid about the team selected for the event.
‘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,’ he added. The Australian said the tour of Belgium will be the perfect preparation 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 coach added.