Hockey India on Thursday named the 18-member squad for the Junior Men’s World Cup to be held in Bhubaneshwar. The tournament is scheduled to start on November 24 as India will look to defend its title. A total of 16 teams from all over the world will be in action for the world junior title. Olympian Vivek Sagar Prasad will lead the Indian Colts. He was part of the historic Indian men’s team that won the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
Apart from Vivek Sagar Prasad, the team has played like Sanjay who was part of the India U-18 team that won Silver at the Youth Olympic Games 2018 in Buenos Aires. He will look to lead the team from the back as he is selected as the vice-captain. Other players include Shardanand Tiwari, Prashant Chauhan, Sudeep Chirmako and many many.
Dinachandra Singh Moirangthem and Boby Singh Dhami have been chosen as alternate players. They will only be called upon action if there is an injury or someone is ruled out by COVID-19.
Speaking about the team selection chief coach Graham Reid said, “To choose the best 18 players to represent their country is one of the hardest things to do in sport. Each of these guys have put their everything into trying to make this team for the last 12-18 months. Through COVID, through sanctions and lockdowns, huge sacrifices have been made.”
The Australian highlights how versatile this team is with several players managing to play dual roles with aplomb. He time and again pointed out that it was immensely difficult for him to pick 18 players.
“We have chosen a group of 20 players, a team of 18 and 2 alternate players who we believe gives us the best chance of defending our title as Junior World Cup Champions. It is a well-balanced side with a lot of flexibility and flare. The key to these guys performing on the big stage will be to trust in each other and trust in their preparation.”
India’s campaign begin on November 24 as they take on France followed by Canada a day later. They will last play Poland on November 27 and then there will be the knockouts. Teams like the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Canada, South Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, France, Chile, Spain and USA have come to Bhubaneshwar to fight it out for the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup.