Senior drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and forward Shivendra Singh today returned to the Indian men's hockey team for the FIH World League Round 3 (semi-finals) to be held at Rotterdam, The Netherlands, from June 13 to 23.
Sandeep, who was left out of the Indian squad for the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 in Delhi earlier this year, made a comeback to the national side along with Shivendra, who last played for India in last year's London Olympics.
Sandeep, incidentally, was part of the Indian squad that went to The Netherlands in April for an invitational tour.
Sardar will continue to lead the 18-member squad while drag-flicker V R Raghunath was named his deputy.
Notable absentees from the squad are midfielder Danish Mujtaba and Gurvinder Singh Chadi, as both are injured.
While Gurvinder continues to be on the sidelines because of a prolonged ankle injury, Danish is suffering from a ligament tear.
According to a statement from Hockey India, the squad was selected by selectors Balbir Singh, B P Govinda, chief coach Michael Nobbs, Roelant Oltmans (Director High Performance) and government observer Harbinder Singh during a meeting on May 17.
The squad has two goalkeepers in P R Sreejesh and P T Rao, four defenders, five mid-fielders and seven forwards.
"Both Sandeep and Shivendra have managed to make a comeback on the basis of their performance and fitness. During the camp they proved that they still have fire in their belly to represent India," a national selector said.
The senior men's team is currently based at the Netaji Subhas Southern Centre (NSSC), Bangalore, where they are attending a national camp, which started on May 16, as final preparations for the upcoming tournament.
The team will depart for Rotterdam on June 5; its opening match is against Ireland, on June 13.
India is placed in Pool B alongside the hosts, New Zealand and Ireland, while Australia, Spain, Belgium and fourth team (to be known after the conclusion of the final tournament of FIH World League Round 2 on June 2) will form Pool A.
India qualified for the FIH World League Round-3 (semi-finals) in February this year. The FIH World League is also the qualifier for the World Cup 2014, to be played in Hague, the Netherlands.
Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh, P T Rao
Defenders: VR Raghunath (vice-captain), Sandeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Harbir Singh Sandhu
Midfielders: Birendra Lakra, Sardar Singh (captain), Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Gurmail Singh
Forwards: SV Sunil, Shivendra Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah, Dharamvir Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh.