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‘Versatile’ team picked for Junior Hockey World Cup

THE ASIAN AGE. | AHARON ABHISHEK
Published : Nov 19, 2016, 2:47 am IST
Updated : Nov 19, 2016, 6:28 am IST

Junior team coach Harendra Singh admitted that the players were groomed to take up different roles.

Members of the Junior World Cup team pose in Bengaluru on Friday. (Photo: Asian Age)
 Members of the Junior World Cup team pose in Bengaluru on Friday. (Photo: Asian Age)

Bengaluru: Senior coach Roelant Oltmans is confident that the Under-21 team would be one of the frontrunners at the Junior Hockey World Cup in Lucknow next month as he named an 18-member team here on Friday. The captain and the deputy will be announced soon.

The colts play warm-up games against Argentina (December 2) and the Netherlands (December 5) before facing Canada in the opening clash on December 8

The team selection was done keeping versatility as a key factor. “You always have to look at players who can play well in different positions,” Oltmans said.

Defender and drag-flicker Varun Kumar, who scored the most goals in India’s successful tour campaign in Valencia, will be joined by fellow defenders Vikramjit Singh and Gurinder Singh. The midfield will be formed by Santa Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Manpreet, Sumit along with Harjeet Singh. Vikas Dahiya, who was part of India senior team at the Rio Olympics as a stand-by to Sreejesh P.R., will take up goalkeeping duties. Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh, a part of the Rio squad, is also in the team.

The experienced Mandeep Singh leads the attack and will be assisted by Armaan Qureshi, Parvinder Singh, Gurjant Singh, Ajit Kumar Pandey and Simranjeet Singh.

“Four in this squad have been a part of the senior team already, we can look into that transition later,” Oltmans remarked, emphasising that the onus would be on the World Cup.

Junior team coach Harendra Singh admitted that the players were groomed to take up different roles.

“It has been two-and-a-half years of training them to play in various positions and with their performances in Spain, we are confident of the squad that we have picked,” he said. “This team can handle pressure and also keep emotions in check.”

India lifted the Junior World Cup in 2001, when the Gagan Ajit Singh-led team returned victorious from Australia. Harendra said, “history is sweet to look at, but will not be dwelled upon”.

“We have to focus on the present,” he stressed.

Team: Goalkeepers: Vikas Dahiya, Keishan B. Pathak; Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Vikramjit Singh, Gurinder Singh; Midfielders: Harjeet Singh, Santa Singh, Sumit, Manpreet and Nilakanta Sharma; Forwards: Parvinder Singh, Gurjant Singh. Armaan Qureshi, Mandeep Singh Ajit Kumar Pandey, Simranjeet Singh.

Reserve players: Hardik Singh and Sumeet Kumar

Tags: rio olympics, junior world cup, junior hockey world cup, roelant oltmans