Star dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh willl captain India at the men’s World Cup as the host nation aims to once again go for title glory on home soil and end a near 50-year wait.
Harmanpreet will lead India’s 18-strong squad for the two-city World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from mid-January. India are placed in a pool with England, Spain and Wales.
Amit Rohidas has been named vice-captain, while PR Sreejesh will be playing his fourth World Cup and third on home soil.
Head coach Graham Reid said: “The World Cup is the most important “Hockey Only” tournament there is. A home World Cup puts extra importance and extra pressure on this event like no other. Every country chooses the best team they believe is available to them at the time and tries to provide their team with the best preparation they can.
“We have also tried to do both with the selection of our Indian World Cup team, choosing a mixture of experienced and younger exciting players who can provide something special.”
Young prodigy Vivek Sagar Prasad also returns to India’s midfield after being ruled out of the Commonwealth Games with a knee injury.
As with previous campaigns, India have enlisted foreign talent to train the nation’s best. Dutchman Bram Lomans, a double Olympic champion, has work with India’s dragflickers, while Dennis Van De Pol, who was also in Bengaluru in 2019, was called in to share his expertise in goalkeeping.
Reid added: “We have also had great preparation over the last two months including a home Pro League series and a very tough tour to Australia against the world’s No.1. We are looking forward to getting to Odisha and putting the finishing touches to our preparations for what will be an exciting and challenging tournament ahead.”
India’s Men’s World Cup 2023 squad:
Goalkeepers: Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran, Krishan Bahadur Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh. Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Akashdeep Singh
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek, Sukhjeet Singh
Reserves: Rajkumar Pal, Jugraj Singh