Sreejesh to lead India in Champions Trophy next month

New Delhi, May 17: Veteran hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh has been named as captain of the Indian team for next month’s FIH Champions Trophy to be held in London.

Like at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India’s team management has followed a rotation policy, ensuring a mix of experience and youth in the team as a precursor to the Rio Olympics.

Defender Harmanpreet Singh, one of the outstanding performers from the team’s Silver Medal winning Sultan Azlan Shah Cup team, finds himself retained in the squad, and is joined by his junior colleagues, Harjeet Singh and Goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya. Dahiya will be a back up to the returning Sreejesh in the team.

Sreejesh and defender VR Raghunath, who were rested for Malaysia, are back in the squad to provide a strong backbone to a strong looking Indian lineup. Meanwhile, SV Sunil has retained the Vice-Captaincy.

Speaking after the squad announcement, Sreejesh said, “At the Champions Trophy, our aim will be to put in a class performance, and finish as high as we can. Finishing with a medal at the tournament, will give us a lot of confidence going into the Olympics.”

Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans also echoed the same sentiments saying, “It is important that we approach the tournament, not just with a view to winning it, but also to execute our tactics well, and learn from past mistakes and keep evolving. This will ensure, that as a team we are prime placed when we reach Rio, physically, mentally and tactically.”

The 18-man squad for the Champions Trophy, which begins from June 10, is as follows:

P.R. Sreejesh (captain), Vikas Dahiya, Pradeep Mor, V.R. Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Manpreet Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Devinder Sunil Walmiki, Harjeet Singh, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, S.V. Sunil (vice – captain), Akashdeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah.