Veteran midfielder Sardar Singh will lead the 18-member Indian hockey squad in the eight-team Hero World League Finals to be held in Raipur from November 17 to December 6.
The squad announced on Wednesday in the middle of the ongoing National camp at the SAI centre here will feature goalkeeper PR Sreejesh as vice-captain.
The wall of defenders comprises Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, VR Raghunath, Jasjit Singh Kular and Rupinder Pal Singh.
Sardar, alongside Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Devinder Walmiki, Manpreet Singh, Dharamvir Singh and Danish Mujtaba would form a strong pool for the midfield.
SV Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay and Talwinder Singh would lead India’s attack for the upcoming tournament.
The Indian team is slated for a three-match Test series against the mighty Australians from the November 19 to 23 in Rajnandgaon and Raipur in Chhattisgarh before starting their campaign for the World League final.
“The team has been together in the camp for quite a while and they are showing tremendous progress. The test series with Australia will help us evaluate our strengths and weaknesses before going into the Hero Hockey World League Finals,” said Roelant Oltmans, India’s High Performance Director and Chief Coach.
“We are excited and there is high degree of positivity within the boys and that gives all of us a lot of confidence. We are confident of playing some competitive hockey and hope to produce the best result in the league,” he added.
Hockey India President Narinder Dhruv Batra also felt that the side is formidable enough to emerge triumphant.
“The Hero Hockey World League final is going to be our first test en route to the Rio Olympics next year. It will give us a good perspective as we would be testing our best players against the world’s best, with all the teams in the Hero Hockey World League Finals having secured 2016 Olympic qualification.
“With a robust coaching staff that we have set up for the team, I am confident that we will see some great hockey at display from our boys. The Test series against Australia is the ideal warm up that the team can get ahead of the Hero Hockey World league finals.”
The India-Australia series will have matches on November 19, 22 and 23.