Skipper Gurjinder Singh was ruled out of the Sultan of Johor Cup invitational Under-21 hockey tournament due to an ankle during a practice game in the camp at SAI Centre Bangalore, which is a massive loss for Indian colts. The ace drag flicker Gurjinder Singh was main triumph card for India in the tournament. He is replaced by Harpreet Singh. Chief coach Mukesh Kumar said Gurjinder’s injury is a “big loss” to the team but he is confident that that his wards will be able to hold their own against Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Pakistan and hosts Malaysia in the round robin tournament at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium from Nov 5-12.
Good news for Indian colts is that senior team member Manpreet Singh will directly go to Johor Bahru from Perth to join them for playing in the tournament. He performed consistently and played in almost all the matches in the Super Series Hockey 9s and the trination series matches involving arch rivals Pakistan and the hosts Australia. The chief coach of Senior team Michael Nobbs will also be going to Johor Bahru and observe the youngsters’ team and Physio David John will also assist the team there.
India, who won the Junior World Cup in Hobart in 2001 and finished runners-up in Milton Keyes, England four years prior, are favoured to make the final of the tournament, which is held in conjunction with the Sultan of Johor’s birthday celebrations. (with inputs from stick2hockey.com and sultanjohorcup.com.my)
For the schedule of Sultan of Johor Cup invitational Under-21 hockey click here.