Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh has been named as captain and Amit Rohidas as vice-captain of the Indian men’s hockey team for next month’s FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
India are in Group D with England, Spain and Wales in the 16-team competition that will be held from January 13 to 29, 2023.
The team, strategically selected after two-day trials in SAI Centre, Bengaluru where 33 players were put to test, features a good mix of experienced and young players who will vie to end India’s wait to stand on the podium in the prestigious event, Hockey India informed in a release on Friday.
Seasoned goalkeeper P.R Sreejesh, who will be playing his fourth World Cup and his third on home soil, along with Krishan B. Pathak have been picked as the two goalkeepers in the squad.
Captain Harmanpreet Singh and his deputy Amit Rohidas will spearhead the defence along with Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh and Nilam Sanjeep Xess.
Talking about the team selection, chief coach Graham Reid said, “The World Cup is the most important “Hockey Only” tournament there is. An home World Cup puts extra importance and extra pressure on this event like no other.”
“Every country chooses the best team they believe is available to them at the time and tries to provide their team with the best preparation they can. We have also tried to do both with the selection of our Indian World Cup team, choosing a mixture of experienced and younger exciting players who can provide something special,” Reid was quoted as saying in a release on Friday.
“We have also had great preparation over the last two months including a home Pro League series and a very tough tour to Australia against the World’s No.1. We are looking forward to getting to Odisha and putting the finishing touches to our preparations for what will be an exciting and challenging tournament ahead,” Reid stated.
India will begin their World Cup campaign against Spain on January 13 in Rourkela followed by their second Group D match against England. They will play their next preliminary league match against Wales at Bhubaneswar, which will also host the Crossover and quarterfinal matches between January 22-25.