Promising forward Sukhjeet Singh was the new face in India’s 20-strong men’s hockey squad announced on Tuesday for the FIH Pro League tie against Spain in Bhubaneswar later this week.
The two-leg tie will be held on February 26 and 27 and the Indian team will be led by Manpreet Singh.
Dragflick specialist Harmanpreet Singh will serve as Manpreet’s deputy.
The Indian team will see a new face in 25-year-old Sukhjeet from Punjab, who was picked in the core group following an impressive stint during the maiden Hockey India Inter-Department National Championship last year.
The 20-member squad for the double-header against Spain includes goalkeepers PR Sreejesh and Suraj Karkera.
Harmanpreet, Mandeep Mor, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh and Dipsan Tirkey are the defenders in the squad.
The team features an experienced midfield with Manpreet, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Hardik Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Shamsher Singh, Nilakanta Sharma and Akashdeep Singh.
The forwardline includes Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Shilanand Lakra, new comer Sukhjeet and Abhishek, who did well against South Africa and France earlier this month, has also received a call-up to the team.
Additionally, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Amit Rohidas, Rajkumar Pal, Moirangthem Rabichandra Singh and Dilpreet Singh have been named as standbys.
“We have chosen a balanced group to play Spain for this weekend and are looking forward to playing at home in Bhubaneswar,”chief coach Graham Reid said.
“It includes another new debutant striker Sukhjeet Singh who impressed during the selection camp last month and has been working hard since selection in the Core Probable’s Group.”
“Spain has a new coach and will be keen to impress after losing to England. These games are an important step in preparation for what is a very busy year,” Reid added.
India endured mixed results in Pro League matches in South Africa where they won against the hosts but were stunned by France in one game, prompting a sharp response from Indian Olympic Association and FIH President Narinder Batra.
Batra had demanded an explanation for the setback and even met the Hockey Indian officials and Reid after their return.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera.
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain), Mandeep Mor, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey.
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (Captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad, Hardik Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Shamsher Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Akashdeep Singh.
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Shilanand Lakra, Sukhjeet Singh, Abhishek.
Standbys: Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Amit Rohidas, Rajkumar Pal, Moirangthem Rabichandra Singh, Dilpreet Singh.