India’s chief coach Harendra Singh on Tuesday defended presence of several junior players in the squad for the FIH World Cup, saying they are good enough to create history.
The current Indian team has seven out of 18 players from the junior World Cup squad, which under Harenedra clinched the world title two years ago in Lucknow.
Junior players such as Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Sumit, Mandeep Singh and goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak were selected in India’s squad.
“Constitution gives us the right to marry after 18. So this is not a young team. It’s a team that can create history,” Harendra said on the eve of India’s opening match against South Africa on Wednesday.
“You have to have patient. Selectors have considered the young players to be good enough to wear India colours, so we need to be proud of them. Every player in the team understands it. My advice to the players would be to stick to the basics and strategy and consider crowd as 12th man and use their energy,” he added.
Citing the example of Ireland, who went on to win the women’s World Cup earlier this year despite being rated as underdogs, Harendra said that India first aim would be to top Pool C and qualify directly for the quarterfinals. India captain Manpreet Singh too said that their main focus is on topping the pool and avoid cross-overs.