Hockey India on Thursday named the 18-member team, which will feature at the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, slated to begin on November 28 at the iconic Kalinga Stadium, here. Midfielder Manpreet Singh will lead the team while Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will be his deputy.
The Indian team will open its campaign against South Africa on the opening day. PR Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak have been included as goalkeepers.
Odisha's experienced defender Birendra Lakra has made a comeback into the team after missing out on the Hero Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat last month due to rehabilitation.
He will be joined by fellow Odia Amit Rohidas, Surender Kumar, Kothajit Singh and 2016 Junior World Cup winners Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar to form India's defence. The latter three are renowned for their dragflick.
The midfield will see the dynamic Manpreet Singh who played a pivotal role defending the title at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy campaign.
Chinglensana Singh Kangujam will add to the experience in the center along with young guns Sumit,
Nilakanta Sharma also of the Junior World Cup team and Hardik Singh, who made his International debut last month. The forward line will see the experienced Akashdeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Junior World Cup winners Mandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh.
India grouped in Pool C along with World No.3 Belgium, Canada and South Africa will need to finish on top of the pool to secure a place in the Quarter Final.
"We have chosen the best available combinations for the World Cup. We had to make some tough decisions to select 18 out of a very strong pool of 34 players. The final 18 are a mix of experienced and youth and have been selected on the basis of their current form and fitness. These players have consistently shown their potential in the run-up up to the showpiece event. I am confident India will put up a fighting performance," asserted chief coach Harendra Singh.
The core group of 34 will continue to train in Bhubaneswar till November 23 after which the team will finalise its preparations for the marquee event.
The Indian Men's team for the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup is:
Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice Captain), Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Sumit.