Hockey India on Wednesday announced its squad for the men's World Cup offering Railways midfielder Jasjit Singh a debut while recalling defender Gurbaj Singh after an absence of almost two years.
Also returning to the 18-man squad for the May 31 to June 15 event at The Hague was forward Akashdeep Singh, who is coming back after an injury layoff while Gurbaj returned after being dropped following the London Olympics debacle in 2012.
However, midfielder Danish Mujtaba and forward Yuvraj Walmiki weren't so lucky as both were ignored and kept in the list of standbys.
The squad, to be led by Sardar Singh with defender Rupinderpal Singh as his deputy, was announced at a glittering ceremony in the capital where the members of India's 1975 World Cup winning team were honoured by Hockey India.
India will leave for the Netherlands on May 22, with their first match scheduled for May 31 against Belgium.
India are in Group A of the 12-team event alongside Australia, England, Spain, Malaysia and Belgium.
Speaking on the squad selected to represent the country, HI's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans chose to be realistic about the team's chances. "This year is too early [to win the cup], but this team will go out to get the best possible result," he said.
Mujtaba, who was hoping to make a comeback after a knee injury, has probably been given more time to recover and become match fit. "It will take time for him to fully recover from his knee injury as it is tough," said one of the team members. "He is lucky to get a chance to press claim as knee injuries can be career-threatening," he said.
The squad was selected after a rigorous training camp under the eyes of Oltmans and team's chief coach Terry Walsh. The selection camp included 33 players, who were later trimmed down to 18.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh and Harjot Singh
Defenders: Gurbaj Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh (vc) and VR Raghunath
Midfielders: Sardar Singh (c), Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Manpreet Singh, SK Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh, Jasjit Singh and Chinglensana Singh
Forwards: SV Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Mandeep Singh.
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh
Defenders: Vikram Kanth, Gurinder Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Devindar Walmiki
Forwards: Lalit Upadhyay, Yuvraj Walmiki
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