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Posted at: Mar 14, 2018, 1:00 AM; last updated: Mar 14, 2018, 1:01 AM (IST)

Sardar dropped, Sreejesh back

CWG squad: Manpreet to lead | Young striker Dilpreet makes team | India vs Pak on April 7
Sardar dropped, Sreejesh back
After India’s below-par show (fifth-place finish) at the recent Azlan Shah tournament, in which an experimental team was captained by Sardar Singh, his exclusion from CWG is not surprising. file photo

Chandigarh, March 13

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.”

Focus on Oz

Marijne said captain Manpreet, who led India to the Asia Cup title last year, will be part of the leadership group which also includes Sreejesh.

Manpreet said the team would focus on starting with a victory against Pakistan. “We need to focus on our plan and maintain discipline. That is the main thing,” he said.

“Our first aim is to do well in the group stage because we have some strong teams in our Pool,” the captain added. “It’s extremely crucial to top our table and make the semifinal but if we do meet Australia in the knockouts, I believe we will be up for a strong challenge.” — TNS, agencies

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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