Sardar dropped, Sreejesh returns for CWG

| | New Delhi

Seasoned goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made a comeback while former skipper Sardar Singh was dropped from the 18-member Indian hockey squad to be led by Manpreet Singh at the next month's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

The Indian team has been clubbed with Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales and England in Pool B. India will open their campaign on April 7 against arch-rivals Pakistan.

While Manpreet dons the captain's armband, the responsibilities of his deputy will be shouldered by Chinglensana Singh Kangujam.

It was under Manpreet's leadership the Indian team lifted the coveted Asia Cup title and also won a bronze medal at the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, last year.

Veteran custodian Sreejesh is back after having suffered a Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury during the Azlan Shah tournament in 2017. His brilliant show during the New Zealand tour saw him get his place back.

He will be backed by the 22-year-old talent Suraj Karkera who played a crucial part in the team's good show in Bhubaneswar last year in his senior counterpart's absence.

‘Varied reasons’

"Sardar was dropped from the Commonwealth Games team because of stiff competition for centre position and Ramandeep was omitted for his inconsistent performance. They, however, are good players," Marijne said after the announcement of the squad here.

Sardar's exclusion was on expected lines as he performed below-par at this year's Azlan Shah tournament. However a few eyebrows were raised with Ramandeep Singh being dropped despite his decent show in the same tournament.

Youngsters  Dilpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad, who made their international debut during the New Zealand tour have been rewarded with this opportunity for their good show. Both the players scored in important games.



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