Uttam to lead India in Jr Asia Cup Hockey
Bengaluru: Young forward Uttam Singh, who helped India reclaim the Sultan of Johor Cup last year, was on Thursday retained as the captain for the upcoming Junior Asia Cup in Salalah, Oman from May 23-June 1.
This will be a qualifying event for the forthcoming FIH Junior Men’s World Cup in Malaysia in December.
India are grouped in pool A along with Pakistan, Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei while Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan are grouped in pool B.
Hailing from Karampur village in Uttar Pradesh, the speedy and agile Uttam struck twice in the shootout, including in sudden death as to lead India to a thrilling 5-4 win over Australia in the Sultan of Johor Cup in November last year.
Vishnukant Singh and Sudeep Chirmako, who also scored for India in the nail-biting final, also retained their places in the 18-member squad.
Uttam also featured in India’s World Cup 2021 campaign in Bhubaneswar where they made a semi-final finish after losing out to eventual runners-up Germany.
Boby Singh Dhami was named Uttam’s deputy, while Mohith HS and Himwaan Sihag were picked as goalkeepers.
The midfield will see the experienced Vishnukant Singh who had a fantastic outing during the recently-held FIH Hockey Pro League in Rourkela.
He will be joined by Rajinder Singh, Poovanna CB, Amandeep and Sunit Lakra while Boby, Araijeet Singh Hundal, Aditya Lalage, Uttam, Sudeep Chirmako and Angad Bir Singh were been named in the forward line.
“We have a fairly experienced team with some of the players also having made their Senior debut in the recent tournaments,” coach CR Kumar said.
“We have gone through two preparatory and two competition cycles which have helped the players gain the right amount of exposure.
“With the Senior team also based out of the same camp here at SAI, Bengaluru, we were able to get ample experience playing matches against them. The team is upbeat and we look to finish on the top,” Kumar added.
Squad Goalkeepers: Mohith H S, Himwaan Sihag; Defenders: Shardanand Tiwari, Rohit, Amandeep Lakra, Amir Ali, Yogember Rawat; Midfielders: Vishnukant Singh, Rajinder Singh, Poovanna C B, Amandeep, Sunit Lakra; Forwards: Boby Singh Dhami (VC), Araijeet Singh Hundal, Aditya Lalage, Uttam Singh (C), Sudeep Chirmako and Angad Bir Singh.