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Indian hockey team to embark on Euro tour under Oltmans

July 27, 2015 17:00 IST

The Indian men's hockey squad that will tour Europe later this month

The Indian men's hockey squad that will tour Europe later this month. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter

A 21-member Indian men's hockey team will embark on a 15-day tour of Europe, starting July 31.

High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans will take over as the chief coach of the side following the unceremonious ouster of Paul Van Ass.

India will play five matches during the tour of France and Spain which will culminate on August 14.

During the tour, seen as preparations for the all-important FIH Hockey World League Final, to be held in the country later this year, India will play twice against France and thrice against Spain.

The squad was selected following a preparatory camp in Shilaroo, near Shimla, from July 19.

Star midfielder Sardar Singh will continue to lead the squad while goalkeeper P R Sreejesh will be his deputy.

The squad comprises two goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders and seven forwards.

Ace drag-flicker V R Raghunath, defenders Kothajit Singh, and Gurjinder Singh, midfielders S K Uthappa and Danish Mujtaba, and strikers S V Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, who were not part of the 18-member squad that finished fourth in the World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, have all made comebacks to the side.

Forward Mohd Amir Khan is the lone new face in it.

Midfielder Manpreet Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Satbir Singh, Gurmail Singh and Yuvraj Walmiki have been omitted from the squad for the Europe tour.

Also missing out is senior midfielder Gurbaj Singh, against whom Hockey India's Special Committee recommended disciplinary action for alleged misbehaviour with the coaching staff and creating disharmony in the side.

India opens their tour with a match against hosts France at Le Touquet.

Speaking on the significance of the tour, Oltmans said: "It's a very important series for us as this will be a base for us to understand how do we perform and deliver as a unit and the grey areas to be improved upon before the FIH World League Finals.

"After World League Finals, our next step is Rio Olympics. Hence from here on, all tournaments are very important for us. We have to keep working and growing as a team. We are not taking the upcoming series lightly as both the teams (France and Spain) are very competitive and playing against them will help better our tackle against the European style of hockey."

The squad:

Goalkeepers: P R Sreejesh, Harjot Singh

Defenders: Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, V R Raghunath, Jasjit Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurjinder Singh

Midfielders: Sardar Singh, Chinglensana Singh, S K Uthappa, Satbir Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Devinder Walmiki

Forwards: S V Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Mohd Amir Khan


August 3: India vs France in Le Touquet

August 5: India vs France in Wattigies Sports Centre

August 10: India vs Spain in Junior FC

August 12: India vs Spain in Junior FC

August 13: India vs Spain in RC Polo.


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