New Delhi: With an eye on the gruelling season ahead, Hockey India on Wednesday named a 33-strong core men’s group that will begin preparations for the upcoming New Zealand tour and the ensuing Commonwealth Games, who will begin preparations in Bengaluru on Thursday.
After ending the year with a bronze medal at the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, the probables will undergo intense preparation for 10 days before heading to New Zealand in what will be their first assignment this year. The four-nation tournament will see Belgium, Japan and the hosts in fray along with India.
Focus will be on the progress made by goalkeeper Sreejesh P.R., who suffered a serious knee injury last year and underwent surgery. Former skipper Sardar Singh too would be keen to impress having being dropped for the Odisha event.
Core group: Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera, Sreejesh P.R., Krishan B. Pathak. Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Birendra Lakra, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Sardar Singh. Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Sumit, Kothajit Singh, Satbir Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh, Harjeet Singh. Forwards: S.V. Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Armaan Qureshi, Affan Yousuf, Talwinder Singh, Sumit Kumar.