Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac announced the 23-member squad which will take on Bangladesh in the forthcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier on October 15 at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata.

As expected, India’s most important man in the defence Sandesh Jhingan has been left out due to injury in the left knee which he suffered in the friendly against Northeast United FC.

“Sandesh is our Iron-man. He’ll be missed in Kolkata but knowing him, I’m pretty sure, he’ll come back much stronger,” Stimac was quoted as saying in the official press release from All India Football Federation (AIFF).

Meanwhile, Jhingan’s partner-in-crime at the back Adil Khan said that the onus would be on them to prove their mettle in his absence. “He (Sandesh) plays a huge role in our team and he’s the leader in our defence. Now, the onus is on us to live up to the expectations. We want to win it for him,” Adil added.

India’s wall under the woods, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who single-handedly won India their last match against Qatar, admitted that Jhingan’s absence would be a big loss for the team and hoped that the defender would return soon.

The Blue Tigers face Bangladesh in a do-or-die situation and anything except a win could potentially end their campaign in the qualifying event. However, their spirited outing against Qatar which saw them hold the Asian champions should give the players the impetus they need in this kind of a tournament.

Missing skipper Sunil Chhetri for viral fever, the Indian team played their best football in recent times to fetch out a goalless draw at Doha. In doing so, India placed themselves along with teams like Argentina and Brazil in the illustrious list of sides who have not conceded a goal against Qatar in 2019.

23-member squad for FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers against Bangladesh

GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh.

DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Narender, Sarthak Golui, Anas Edathodika, Mandar Rao Desai, Subhasish Bose.

MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Vinit Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Abdul Sahal, Raynier Fernandes, Brandon Fernandes, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan.

FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh.