Injured midfielder Gurbaj Singh, who sustained an injury on his right knee during the start of second phase of the preparatory camp here earlier this month, was left out of India’s 32 probables for the hockey Olympic Qualifying tournament to be played from February 18 to 26 in New Delhi. Besides India, the other participating teams in the tournament are Canada, France, Poland, USA and Italy.
The dynamic midfielder did not play in India’s just-concluded five-match Test series against South Africa, which was the basis of the selection of the probables. According to the team management, his injury is not serious and he has been advised rest for three weeks. The selectors Balbir Singh, BP Govinda, Syed Ali alongwith government observers Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey and the chief coach, Michael Nobbs shortened the list of probables from from 45 to 32 after watching the Test series against South Africa, which India won 3-1.
According to Hockey India statement, “The core probable players were tested in these matches so as to determine the best possible team that would represent the country in the Olympic Qualifier Tournament.” The squad of 18 members and 4 standbys the Olympic Qualifiers will be selected from these 32 probables.
Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri, PR Sreejesh.
Defenders: Sandeep Singh, VR Raghunath, Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh, Gurjinder Singh, Manjeet Kullu.
Midfielders: Sardar Singh, Vikram Pillay, Vikas Sharma Arjun Halappa, Manpreet Singh, VS Vinaya, Kothajit Singh, Ignace Tirkey, Birendra Lakra.
Forwards: Rajpal Singh, SV Sunil, Sarvanjit Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Tushar Khandker, SK Uthappa, Ravipal, Chinglensana Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki, Mandeep Antil, Dharamveer Singh, Bharat, Danish Mujtaba, Akashdeep Singh.
Results of India-South Africa Test Series:
1st Test: India won 4-0
(IND: Shivendra Singh(15th minute), Birendra Lakra(24th), Sardara Singh(28th) and SK Uthappa(53th))
2nd Test: India won 2-1
(IND: Chingelsana Singh (33rd minute) and Sandeep (68th), RSA: Lance Louw (43rd))
3rd Test: South Africa won 3-1
(RSA: Lloyd Madsen (21st minute in PS), Ian Haley (35th) and Craig Haley (55th)
IND: Sandeep Singh (49th))
4th Test: India won 4-3
(IND:Yuvraj (44th minute, 53rd), V R Raghunath (50th) and S K Uthappa (56th)
RSA: Justin Reid Ross (14th), Ian Haley (54th) and Lloyd Madsen (64th))
5th Test: Draw 3-3
(RSA: Ricky West (26th minute), Ian Haley (31st) and Miguel de Grasa (34th)
IND: Yuvraj Walmiki (43rd), V R Ragunath (49th) and S K Uthappa (66th) )