After almost a year, the Indian men’s hockey team will be back in action. They will resume international hockey with a 17 day Europe tour and the fixture for the same is out. They will be playing two games each against Germany and Great Britain. A core group of 22 players and six support staff has been named for the tour which will be led by goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.
India will be playing Germany on February 28 and March 2 before flying to Belgium to face off with Great Britain on March 6 and 8. Indian team chief coach Graham Reid is overjoyed by the opportunity. He feels that playing against some of the great teams of the world will be great practice for the side. The Indian team is currently fourth in the FIH world rankings, their highest till date.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to go to Europe, and we are looking forward to having our first competitive matches in just over 12 months,” Reid was quoted by TOI.
“Playing against powerhouse teams like Germany and Great Britain will provide us with great competition and help immensely in our FIH Hockey Pro League and Olympic Games preparation. Playing any top 10 ranked team is always a great experience for the team.”
“Absolutely excited to be traveling for the first time in over a year,” shares Harmanpreet Singh
Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh, who has been named the vice-captain for the tour, shares that the side is excited for the tour. Singh explains that playing against some top sides will help them prepare better for the upcoming events. He adds that the team is rearing to go having played their last game nearly 12 months from now.
“We are absolutely excited to be traveling for the first time in over a year. Playing against Germany and Great Britain will help us set the parameters for preparing best ahead of FIH Hockey Pro League which is our immediate competition ahead of the Olympic Games.“
“We understand the weather in Europe will be quite cold this time of the year, but we have almost a week to acclimatise. We are looking forward to this exciting challenge, we can’t wait to get into competition mode,” he said.
According to a Hockey India statement, the entire contingent will undergo a Covid-19 RT-PCR test 48 hours prior to their departure. The statement further stated that though there is no requirement of quarantine upon arrival in Germany. The team will still be following all the safety and health measures as advised by the governments of India, Germany and Belgium.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (Captain), Krishan Bahadur Pathak
Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Gurinder Singh, Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain), Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra
Midfielders: Chinglensana Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Rajkumar Pal, Simranjeet Singh, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh
Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay