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Sardar dropped, Sreejesh back 

Chandigarh: Former captain Sardar Singh has been dropped from the 18-member Indian team for next month’s Commonwealth Games. The team, which will play its first match against Pakistan on April 7, will be led by Manpreet Singh. Chinglensana Singh Kangujam has been named the vice-captain. Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, the former captain, has made a comeback after suffering a ligament injury at last year’s Azlan Shah tournament.

Dilpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad, both 18 years old, are part of the team; the two had been impressive during their international debut in New Zealand earlier this year and have been rewarded with a call-up for their maiden multi-sports event at the senior level.

End of road?

After India’s below-par show at the recent Azlan Shah tournament, in which an experimental team was captained by Sardar Singh, his exclusion from CWG is not surprising. However, the omission of Ramandeep Singh from the CWG squad has caused some surprise because he had done well in the Azlan Shah tournament.

Coach Sjoerd Marijne said that Sardar had lost his place in the team because there were superior players available to take over from him, while Ramandeep had been inconsistent. “Sardar was dropped from the Commonwealth Games team because of stiff competition for centre position and Ramandeep was omitted for his inconsistent performance,” Marijne said in Bengaluru.

“This team has been picked keeping in mind the team’s performance in the previous tournaments since the Asia Cup 2017,” the coach said. “We have tried out different combinations in the past events and we believe this will be the most effective combination for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.”

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