India in tricky group for junior hockey World Cup
India will take on European powerhouse Holland in their opening match of the upcoming FIH Junior Hockey World Cup which will be held in the capital from December 6 to 15. India have been placed in the potentially tricky Pool C, which also includes South Korea and minnows Canada.
Defending champions Germany are in Pool A along with former winners Pakistan, Belgium and Egypt. Pool B includes Australia, Spain Argentina and France while Pool D comprises England, New Zealand, South africa and Malaysia.
All the players of the 18-member Indian squad announced on Wednesday, were part of the senior national team that played in the Asian Champions Trophy in Japan, where they finished fifth.
Mid-fielder Manpreet Singh, who led the senior team at the ACT, was named as the captain this time as well. The only change is defender Amit Rohidas has replaced Kotahjit Singh as the vice captain.
Despite being in a tough group, Manpreet was upbeat about the hosts’ chances. “No, I do not think that we are in a tough pool. We are right now focussing on our opening match against Holland. We are training very hard and are prepared for them,” he said.
“We will have home advantage, which however also means that we will be under pressure to perform. But we are confident of playing well,” he added.
Indian coach Gregg Clark echoed Manpreet’s views, adding that the experience of playing at the senior level would stand his players in good stead.
“I think all the players realise what it takes. They have played at that (senior) level and hopefully could use that experience at the Junior World Cup,” he felt. The South African, however, warned that the Indians would find the going tough despite playing in familiar conditions.
“It’s going to be tough. We have seen Holland playing. But there are a lot of players who have been in the senior team and it will help,” he said.
Squad: Sushant Tirkey, Harjot Singh, Gurjinder Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Sukhmanjit Singh, Pardeep Mor, Amit Rohidas, Harjeet Singh, Satbir Singh, Prabhdeep Singh, Imran Khan, Manpreet Singh (captain), Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh, Talwinder Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh