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Harmanpreet Singh will lead India at the World Cup.

The Indian team’s path to replicate their Olympic triumph in Tokyo at the World Cup began on Friday, when Hockey India (HI) revealed an 18-member squad that would compete for the country’s first medal at the quadrennial tournament in 48 years.
Harmanpreet Singh, India’s primary drag-flicker, who captained India for the first time during the Pro League in October-November in an effort to “increase the leadership group,” has been chosen by chief coach Graham Reid and the selection panel to lead the world No. 6 squad at the January 13-29 World Cup.
Manpreet Singh, who led India to an Olympic medal after a 41-year absence in Tokyo, was also replaced as captain during the 2021-22 Pro League by defender Amit Rohidas before returning as captain at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July-August, where India finished with silver after a disappointing 0-7 loss to Australia in the final. In Odisha, Rohidas will be Harmanpreet’s deputy.
Reid has picked an experienced side, with 13 of the 19 players who represented India in Tokyo joining the World Cup selection. Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, PR Sreejesh, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Mandeep Singh, and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay won bronze a year and a half ago, together with Manpreet, Rohidas, and Harmanpreet. Krishan Bahadur Pathak competed in Tokyo but did not medal since he was a reserve and did not play a single game.
Sreejesh will be competing in his fourth World Cup, and his third on home soil. The return of Prasad, who missed the recent tour of Australia as well as the Pro League matches against New Zealand and Spain owing to an ankle injury, will strengthen the midfield.
Sumit, Gurjant Singh, and Dilpreet Singh, who were among the 33 core probables who gave trials earlier this week at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru, were among the six other Tokyo medalists who did not make the cut. Simrajeet Singh was not even there in the camp, while Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra had both retired.
Meanwhile, non-medallists Akashdeep Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Abhishek and Sukhjeet Singh will compete in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.
Akashdeep, an experienced attacker who can also play as a midfielder depending on the situation, was disappointed not to be picked for Tokyo. He went back to the drawing board to hone his talents and gain confidence in order to rejoin the group. The 28-year-old was outstanding in the Test series against Australia, scoring four goals in three games, including a hat-trick.
While Jarmanpreet has been a mainstay in the Indian squad since the Olympics, Xess has impressed the selection committee by regularly excelling for the team in competitions like as the Asia Cup, Pro League, and Test series against Australia. Xess is from a low-income family, and his hamlet is only 45 minutes from Rourkela, where he hopes his farming parents will go.
Abhishek and Sukhjeet both made their international debuts earlier this year.
this year and have been steadily improving, impressing the group in charge. Abhishek got his first goal in only his second game.
In February, they will play an international versus South Africa. Sukhjeet received a score on his debut, also in February, against France. Sukhjeet was chosen in the Senior national camp in 2018 was also cancelled due to an acupuncture incident.
He was largely paralysed for six months before recovering completely.
This year, he made the Indian team.
“The World Cup is the most important ‘hockey-only’ competition. A home World Cup adds significance and pressure to the tournament like no other. Every country selects the finest squad they feel is available at the moment and strives to offer the greatest preparation possible. We attempted to do both while selecting our Indian World Cup team, selecting a combination of seasoned and younger interesting players who can bring something unique “Reid will take the team to Rourkela next week to acclimatise to the new environment.
“We also had a terrific preparation over the previous two months, which included a home Pro League series and a very difficult visit to Australia against the world No. 1. We’re excited to come to Odisha and put the finishing touches on our preparations for what promises to be an interesting and demanding competition.”
The international hockey federation (FIH) added Rajkumar Pal and drag-flicker Jugraj Singh as alternative players following the Covid-19 epidemic.
India has been placed in Pool D alongside world No. 5 England, No. 8 Spain, and No. 15 Wales, and will begin their campaign on January 13 against Spain at the newly built Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, India’s largest with a capacity of 20,000 people. They will play England at the same site on January 15 before travelling to Bhubaneswar for the final group encounter against Wales on January 19. The knockouts, which will take place entirely in Bhubaneswar, will begin with crossover matches on January 22 and 23, followed by quarter-finals on January 24 and 25. The semi-finals will take place on January 27, followed by the final on January 29.
India has only won three World Cup medals. They won bronze in the inaugural event in 1971 and silver the following year in 1973. India won their sole championship in 1975, when the Ajit Pal Singh-led team defeated archrivals Pakistan 2-1 in the final in Kuala Lumpur.

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