Akashdeep, Karthi miss out; Lalit returns in India’s hockey squad for Asian Games

Bengaluru: Veteran striker Akashdeep Singh and young Karthi Selvam have been dropped but experienced Lalit Upadhyay made a comeback to the 18-member Indian men’s hockey team selected for the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

Hockey India selectors dropped three players — Akashdeep, Karthi and defender Jugraj Singh from the champion side of the Asian Champions Trophy held in Chennai earlier this month.

Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh and midfielder Hardik Singh will continue to don the roles of captain and vice-captain in the Asian Games.

Jugraj has been replaced by Sanjay, while Lalit and Abhishek came in place of Akashdeep and Karthi.

The team has two goalkeepers in veteran PR Sreejesh and Krishan Bahadur Pathak.

Besides two goalkeepers, the Asian Games-bound team will have six defenders, five midfielders and as many forwards.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Savita Punia will lead the 18-member Indian women’s hockey team in the Asian Games.

Experienced Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Baljeet Kaur and Jyoti Chhatri are the three players, who were part of tour of Germany and Spain last month, missed the bus.

The official announcement of the teams were made during a special send-off ceremony organised by Hockey India for the Asian Games-bound sides here.

In the 12-team men’s competition, India are placed in Pool A along side reigning Asian Games champions Japan, arch-rivals Pakistan, neighbours Bangladesh, Singapore and Uzbekistan while Pool B features Korea, Malaysia, China, Oman, Thailand and Indonesia.

The Indian women, who won the silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, is placed in Pool A along with Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore while reigning champions Japan, hosts China, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia are placed in Pool B.

Indian men will open their campaign against Uzbekistan on September 24, while their women counterparts will take on Singapore in their opening match on September 27.

Hockey squads for Asian Games:

Men’s team: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Pathak, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh (captain), Sanjay, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh (vice-captain), Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Abhishek, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Sukhjeet Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.

Women’s team: Savita (captain), Bichu Devi Kharibam, Deepika, Lalremsiami, Monika, Navneet Kaur, Neha, Nisha, Sonika, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Deep Grace Ekka (vice-captain), Vandana Katariya, Sangita Kumari, Vaishnavi Vittal Phalke, Nikki Pradhan, Sushila Chanu, Salima Tete.