Vastavam web: Captain Manpreet Singh and goalkeeper P R Sreejesh were among a few senior players rested from the Indian hockey team for next month’s Olympic Test event in Tokyo. Besides Manpreet and Sreejesh, also rested from the 18-member men’s squad for the August 17 to 21 event is defender Surender Kumar. Dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh will don the captain’s armband in Manpreet’s absence, while striker Mandeep Singh will be his deputy.
Rookies Ashis Topno and Shamsher Singh will make their debut in the national team in the upcoming event. Experienced striker S V Sunil also made a comeback after recovering from a knee injury. He was sidelined from the national team for nine months.
In Sreejesh’s absence, Krishan Bahadur Pathak and young Suraj Karkera will don the goalkeeping duties. India’s chief coach Graham Reid said the decision to rest some senior players were taken keeping in mind the Olympic Qualifiers in November. “We are resting some senior players including Manpreet Singh, some of whom have played a very rigorous last 12 months of hockey. We will give them a chance to shake off any niggling injuries and get fresh for the next three months of preparation for the November qualifying matches,” the Australian said. He said the Olympic Test Event provides them with a chance to test some new players.