Forward Akashdeep Singh is named captain for the 18-member Indian hockey squad to play in 7th Junior Asia Cup at Malacca, Malaysia from May 3-13. Apart from India and hosts Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are other participating team.
India are the defending champions, and have won the last two editions at Karachi (2004) and Chennai (2008). Though this tournament will be the qualifier for the Junior World cup to be held in 2013, India is automatically qualified for Junior World Cup 2013 as hosts. Hockey India (HI) selectors BP Govinda, Syed Ali and Balbir Singh, alongwith government observer Harbinder Singh conducted the selection trials at SAI (South) Centre, Bangalore, on April 6-7.
Will India miss the services of players like Gurjinder Singh (Bridgestone WSH Rockstar and Golden Stick-19 Goals in WSH), Devindar Walmiki (Life of Mumbai Marines’s mid-field, 4 Goals), Ramandeep Singh (4 Goals in WSH for Chandigarh Comets), etc. whose performances in recently concluded World Series Hockey can not be ignored? Most importantly, Gurjinder Singh and Devindar Walmiki were declared the Captain and Vice-Captain of the team for Sultan Johor Cup 2011 (i.e. junior team of India’s last international outing, Nov 2011), later Devindar went on leading the team in Malaysia as Gurjinder had to miss the tournament due to ankle injury.
Coach Baljit Singh is confident of doing well in Malacca, told us, “Since we are already qualified for Junior World Cup 2013 as hosts, we will go all out for both defending title (Jr Asia Cup) and building up the team for the World Cup.”
The Coach of Jr India team also said, “Going for the title (Asia Cup) is the best way to prepare the team for World Cup, but automatic qualification will provide us with some cushion to try out few things in Malaysia to build up the team for upcoming Junior World Cup.”
Goalkeepers: Sushant Tirkey, Keshav Dutt
Defenders: Sukhmanjit Singh, Amit Rohidas (vice-captain), Sampath Kumar
Midfielders: Pardeep Mor, Harjit Singh, Surender Kumar, Gurmail Singh, Prabhdeep Singh, Satbir Singh, Munish Rana
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh (captain), P.L. Thimmanna, Malak Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Naveen Antil
Standbys: Bhisham Singh Phairembam (goalkeeper), Gaganpreet Singh (defender), Amit Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Amon Mirash Tirkey, Talwinder Singh (all midfielder), Ranjit Singh and Parvinder Singh (both forwards)