The men’s Indian hockey team, back from a historic Tokyo 2020 campaign which saw them end a 41-yearlong wait for an Olympic medal, will start its preparation for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic cycle with a national camp at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) South Centre in Bengaluru from Monday.
The 30-member list of probables, announced by chief coach Graham Reid, is a mix of players from the bronze-medal winning side at Tokyo, including captain Manpreet Singh, and a handful of first-timers.
While goalkeeping stalwart PR Sreejesh continues to feature in the national team’s plans, young custodians Krishan Pathak and Suraj Karkera have also been included with a view of moulding them into long term successors of the 33-year-old Sreejesh with Paris 2024 in focus.
Drag-flickers Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas and Varun Kumar are expected to lead the Indian hockey team in the upcoming Olympic cycle while youngsters Mandeep Mor and Suman Beck are drafted into the senior team.
The Indian midfield and the forward lines look set with the 23-year-old Ashis Kumar Topno being the only relatively inexperienced player in the mix. The Odisha native has five international caps to his name.
Some of the prominent names missing from the squad include striker Ramandeep Singh, halfback Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and defender Kothajit Khadangbam. Veterans like SV Sunil, Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra announced their retirements recently.
Speaking about his expectation from the team, Graham Reid said that it was all about preparing the side for what looks like a hectic season for the Indian hockey team next year.
“Experiencing success in the Olympics is great but now I want the players to be mentally and physically ready for a hectic season in 2022 with some very important tournaments starting from the FIH Hockey Pro League in February,” the Australian said.
“The players are coming off a long and well-deserved break. I believe they will be excited to be back in the national camp and refocus on our goals for next year. This camp will be more about strength and conditioning and we will look at making a slow start.”
Indian hockey team probable list for the national camp
Squad: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Pathak, Suraj Karkera, Harmanpreet Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Simranjeet Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Gursahibjit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Jaskaran Singh, Rajkumar Pal, Gurjant Singh, Sumit, Shilanand Lakra, Suman Beck, Mandeep Mor, Ashis Kumar Topno.