Sardar Singh will lead a young Indian side, depleted due to injuries, in the 9th Asia Cup Hockey tournament to be held at Ipoh, Malaysia from Aug 24 to Sep 1, Hockey India (HI) announced Sunday.
Four key strikers -- Danish Mujtaba, SV Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi and Akashdeep Singh -- have been ruled out due to injuries. The new-look forward line comprises Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh and green horns Ramandeep Singh and Nikin Thimmaiah.
The other new face in the team is defender Amit Rohidas while mid-fielder S.K. Uthappa is making a comeback. Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh replaces drag-flicker V.R. Raghunath as Sardar's deputy.
Hockey India selectors B.P. Govinda, R.P. Singh and Arjun Halappa, director high performance and interim chief coach Roelant Oltmans, coach M.K. Kaushik and scientific advisor Jason Konrath, along with government observer Harbinder Singh, selected the 18-member squad after trials at Bangalore's Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre July 25-27.
India are in Pool B with South Korea, Bangladesh and Oman while Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan and Chinese-Taipei are placed in Pool A. India will open their campaign against Oman Aug 24 followed by South Korea, Aug 26 and Bangladesh, Aug 28.
The Indian team will be leaving for Ipoh Aug 16.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh (vice-captain), PT Rao.
Defenders: VR Raghunath, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas, Kothajit Singh, Birendra Lakra, Gurmail Singh.
Midfielders: Sardar Singh (captain), Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Dharamvir Singh, SK Uthappa.
Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh, Nikin Thimmaiah.