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Rediff.com  » Sports » Rupinder, Uthappa ignored for Hockey World League semi-final

Rupinder, Uthappa ignored for Hockey World League semi-final

May 26, 2015 17:10 IST

Rupinder Pal Singh

Rupinder Pal Singh celebrates with his India team mates after scoring. Photograph: Hockey India

Four key players, including ace drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh and midfielder S K Uthappa, were dropped from India’s 18-man squad for the Hockey World League semi-final, in Antwerp, Belgium, from June 20 to July 5.

Besides Rupinder and Uthappa, forwards Mandeep Singh and Satbir Singh got the axe.

All the four dropped players featured in last month's Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, where India finished a creditable third, and the four-match bilateral Test series against Japan, which was won 3-0.

Defenders Jasjit Singh Kular and Gurmail Singh, midfielder Lalit Upadhyay and striker Yuvraj Walmiki were recalled for the 10-nation tournament.

In the Test series against Japan, India fielded an experimental squad of 24, which included Gurmail, Jasjit, Lalit and Yuvraj.

Ace midfielder Sardar Singh, who has to his credit 216 international caps, was retained captain of the side, while goalkeeper P R Sreejesh will continue to be Sardar's deputy.

Harjot Singh is the second goalkeeper in the team, while the defence will be manned by Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, V R Raghunath, Jasjit and Gurmail.

The five-man midfield comprises Sardar, Gurbaj, Dharamvir, Chinglensana and Lalit, while the forwardline has S V Sunil, Nikkim Thimmaiah, Yuvraj, Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh.

The HWL semi-final has 10 teams divided into Pools A and B. India is placed in Pool A alongside France, Poland, Pakistan and Australia, while China, Ireland, Malaysia, Great Britain and Belgium are in Pool B.

India open their campaign against France on June 20.

Speaking about team selection, India chief coach Paul van Ass said: "The team is full of confidence which they proved in the recent Japan series where they gave Japan a tough time and beat them 3-0.

"The boys are working upon their strategies and are confident of putting put up a good show in the tournament. Our pool is tough but the boys are confident of putting up a great show. The team is excited to face Australia."

The team:

Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh, Harjot Singh

Defenders: Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, VR Ragunath, Jasjit Singh Kular, Gurmail Singh

Midfielders: Gurbaj Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Sardar Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Lalit Upadhyay

Forwards: S V Sunil, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Yuvraj Walmiki, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh.

AGENCIES