Rupinder returns, Jaskaran new face for Australia tour
New Delhi, April 30
Dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh returned to the Indian men’s hockey team, which also features debutant Jaskaran Singh, for the tour of Australia, starting May 10. Rupinder is returning to the squad after a long injury lay-off.
He last played for India at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta last year. The 18-member squad, announced by Hockey India, will be led by midfielder Manpreet Singh while Surender Kumar has been named as the vice-captain. The tour, marked as a preparation for next month’s Hockey Series Final in Bhubaneswar, will be chief coach Graham Reid’s maiden assignment with the team.
On the Australia tour, India will try out youngsters besides testing experienced players before picking the team for the Hockey Series Final, to be held from June 6 to 15.
The 25-year-old Jalandhar-born Jaskaran will make his debut in the Indian midfield alongside Hardik Singh, Manpreet, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Nilakanta Sharma. “This tour will provide me with a great chance to get to know this group of players. It comprises a well-balanced mix, including some younger players, a debutant and a player coming back from long-term injury,” new chief coach Reid said. “To be able to play four matches against a world-class opposition, including a match against club side Western Australia Thundersticks, will be a great opportunity to test our players under pressure. It provides the ideal preparation for FIH Men’s Hockey Series Final in June.” The tour will feature four matches — two against the Australian national side, one against Australia A and one against Western Australia.