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Sardar, Ramandeep dropped for varied reasons, says Marijne

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Bengaluru: Veteran Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh were axed from Indian men's hockey team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and head coach Sjoerd Marijne said while the former lost out his place because of stiff competition, the latter was dropped because of inconsistent performances in recent past.

"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 told PTI 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 Cup. However, a few eyebrows were raised at Ramandeep's exclusion as he performed decently in the same tournament.

While Manpreet Singh will don the captain's armband, Chinglensana Singh will be his deputy. "The reins of deputy to Manpreet Singh has been given to Chinglensana. These players can play vertical and have the ability to score goals," the coach said.

Admitting that world champions Australia would be the team to beat at the Gold Coast CWG, Marijne said Indian players need to be disciplined to win matches at the quadrennial event to be held at Gold Coast from April 4 to 15.

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

Marijne said India need to focus on the opening match against Pakistan to set the momentum for the tournament.

The Dutchman, however, expects to meet the reigning CWG champions and hosts Australia in the semifinals or the summit clash.

Asked about his expectations from skipper Manpreet, Marijne said he will be a part of the leadership group, which also includes former captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.

Sreejesh made a comeback to the side after recovering from a career-threatening Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury which he suffered during the Azlan Shah Cup in 2017.

Squad: Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera; Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar,  Kothajit Singh, Gurinder Singh, Amit Rohidas; Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (C), Chinglensana Singh (vice-captain), Sumit, Vivek Sagar Prasad; Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, SV Sunil, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh.

Coach: Sjoerd Marijne.

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