[**EDS: HANDOUT IMAGE PROVIDED BY HOCKEY INDIA, FRIDAY, SEPT 20, 2019**Bengaluru: India mens hockey team players pose for a photograph ahead of their upcoming tour of Belgium, scheduled from 26th September – 3rd October 2019, in Bengaluru. ( /PTI]
New Delhi, Sep 20 : Mid-fielder Manpreet Singh will lead the Indian men’s hockey team in their upcoming tour of Belgium from September 26 to October 3.
Hockey India on Friday announced the 20-member squad in which it named defender Harmanpreet Singh as vice-captain for the tour in which India will play three matches against Belgium and two matches against Spain.
Lalit Kumar Upadhyay will be making a comeback to the side after last year’s World Cup in Odisha, while Rupinder Pal Singh, who missed out on the Olympic Test Event, also makes a return to the team.
Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh joins the side after being rested for the Olympic Test Event while Krishan B Pathak is the other goalkeeper in the team.
“All the players in the squad complement each other very well and we are hoping that the team continues its good form,” said chief coach Graham Reid.
“We are still looking to fine-tune a few aspects of our game before we leave for Belgium.
The Australian said that the tour of Belgium will be the perfect preparation for the Olympic Qualifiers match against Russia in Odisha.
“Belgium are a strong team and if we perform well against them in their own backyard then the team will gain a lot of confidence ahead of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers match against Russia. This tour of Belgium will serve as the perfect preparation before the all-important FIH Olympic Qualifiers. We are expecting a tough challenge from Spain as well.”
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan B Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (vice-captain), Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Gurinder Singh, Khadangbam Kothajit Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh.
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (captain), Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Ramandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Akashdeep Singh.