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Sardar Singh returns in India hockey team as skipper for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

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Sardar Singh returns in India hockey team as skipper for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

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SportsCafe Desk

02/20/2018

Sardar Singh has made a comeback to the Indian Hockey team to lead the side at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup starting on March 3 in Malaysia. Apart from India, Australia, Argentina, England, Ireland, and hosts Malaysia will participate in the tournament with the final being played on March 10.

Sardar, who was a regular part of the India side earlier, failed to overcome his fitness issues to be out of the team from last one year. But the 31-year-old, who had expressed his willingness to play the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, received a good news in just after two weeks as he managed a timely return to the squad. The senior Indian player has been in and out of the team as the selectors of the Indian hockey is giving chances to youngsters in the search of the right combination considering the busy calendar in 2018. 

"Sardar is one of the leaders in the core group and in Manpreet Singh's absence, he has been chosen for the job. He is an experienced player and having missed two tournaments previously, this is an opportunity for him to show his skills," coach Sjoerd Marijne said.

Ramandeep Singh will give assistance to Sardar as he is going to handle vice-captain’s responsibility. The squad featured three debutants - Mandeep Mor, Sumit Kumar and, Shilanand Lakra. Mandeep and Lakra were in the Junior Men’s Core Group and Sumit is part of the ongoing Senior Men National Camp. All three players were also part of the Indian Colts team who won the bronze medal at the Sultan of Johor Cup in 2017.

"Just like the New Zealand Tour where four players made their International debut, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is a great opportunity for these new players to get international exposure against top teams. With youngsters who have done well in New Zealand as well as few more getting the right international exposure, it will only help us create a bigger group. Playing top teams in their first tournament will be challenging but this is also an opportunity for the seniors to help the youngsters adjust to this level,” Marijne stated.

"This tournament is extremely important for the players who are going because it is another opportunity for them to experience high-level competition especially from teams like Australia and Argentina. This is a chance for them to show their capability in the international level and ensure their place in the squad for future tournaments."

India Squad:

Goalkeepers: Suraj Karkera, Krishan B Pathak

Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor

Midfielders: S.K. Uthappa, Sardar Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh.

Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh (Vice-captain), Talwinder Singh, Sumit Kumar (Junior), Shilanand Lakra

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