Know the Asian Games’ Indian Men’s Hockey team: Profiles

By | August 14, 2018

The Indian Men’s Hockey team left for Jakarta Asian Games from New Delhi today and are hoping to regain the title. Here are the profiles of the team and the caps and goals are as 8 August 2018:

PR Sreejesh (Captain)

Age: 30

Position: Goalkeeper

Caps: 191

The 30-year-old goalkeeper hails from Kerala and is considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He made his debut for the national team in 2006 at the South Asian Games in Sri Lanka. He was later awarded as the “Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament” at the 2008 Junior Asia Cup where India won the Gold Medal. In the presence of experienced goalkeepers, Sreejesh made drastic improvements to his game and has become a regular fixture in the national team since 2011, the year in which he made two match winning saves in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy against Pakistan. He was also crowned as the “Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament” at the 2013 Asia Cup where India won the Silver Medal. A stalwart in front of goal, the 29-year-old has represented the nation at the 2014 World Cup, 2012 & 2016 Olympic Games, but his best performances in an Indian shirt came in the year 2014 as he was nominated for the Best Male Goalkeeper award by FIH. The 29-year-old won the “Goalkeeper of the Tournament” award in the 2014 Champions Trophy and saved two Penalty Strokes in the 2014 Asian Games final against Pakistan to give his team the Gold Medal. In 2016, Sreejesh was given the duties of the Captain and he led the team to the Silver Medal at the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy in London. A long-term injury saw Sreejesh miss most of last year’s action but the experienced goalkeeper has performed exceptionally since coming back early this year, making appearances at the Commonwealth Games and the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice-Captain)

Age: 26

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 187

 Chinglensana Singh Kangujam hails from Manipur and made his International debut in 2011 when he represented the country at the Champions Challenge in South Africa. The 26-year-old ‘Chinglen’, as popularly called by his teammates, won his first medal with the national team at the 2013 Asia Cup where they won the Silver Medal. India’s current Vice-Captain was also a member of the team that won the Silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Gold Medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. Chinglensana has been a vital cog in India’s midfield and has helped the team bag the Gold Medal at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 and the Bronze Medal at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017. He also represented the country at the Commonwealth Games and the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

Krishan B Pathak

Age: 21

Position: Goalkeeper

Caps: 11

The young Goalkeeper hails from Punjab and made his debut for the Senior team earlier this year when he played deputy to the returning PR Sreejesh at the 4 Nations Invitational Tournament in New Zealand. The 21-year-old is a product of the Surjit Singh Hockey Academy, and progressed through the ranks after playing well for Punjab’s Junior team in the National Championships. Pathak played a vital role for the Junior Indian Team that won the Junior World Cup in December 2016, and has since impressed the National Selectors, who have persisted with him in the Senior team. The youngster is an inspiration to many as he has battled several struggles in his short life after having lost both his parents during his teenage years. His first honors with the Senior team came in the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018 where the team finished with a Silver medal.

Harmanpreet Singh

Age: 22

Position: Defender

Caps: 77

The 22-year-old defender from Amritsar, Punjab made his International debut in 2015 during a four-match Test Series against Japan in Bhubaneswar where he made two appearances. However, the youngster’s next call up to the national side was only in 2016 during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where India won the Silver Medal. Harmanpreet won another Silver Medal with the national team at the Men’s Champions Trophy 2016 and represented the country at the Olympic Games at the age of only 20 in the same year. He was a crucial member of the Indian Junior Men’s team that won the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men 2016. Good performances in the 2017 Hockey India League saw Harmanpreet win a place in the national squad whichhas since led him to winning three medals in 2017 – Gold Medal at the Hero Asia Cup 2017, Bronze Medal at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 and Silver Medal at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

Varun Kumar

Age: 23

Position: Defender

Caps: 46

The extremely talented Varun Kumar from Punjab made his International debut at the Europe Tour of Belgium and Netherlands in 2017.Kumar started off his career at the Junior National Championships in 2012 whenhe represented his state, and was soon selected to be a part of the Juniornational team. However, an injury saw him miss out on a spot in the team that participated at the 2013 Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup. But consistency at the state level, coupled with impressive performances in the Hockey India League for Jaypee Punjab Warriors saw him getting recalled to the Junior national team set-up. The 23-year-old finally managed to make his debut in 2016 when he was the highest scorer at the Four Nations Invitational Tournament in Spain and was an integral part of the Indian team that lifted the Uttar Pradesh Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 title in Lucknow. His ability to read the game and stay calm in crunch situations has seen him make a mark at the Senior level as well, with his drag-flicks also being an advantage for the young Indian team. He was also a part of the team that won the Gold Medal at the Hero Asia Cup in 2017, Bronze Medal at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 and the Silver Medal at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

Surender Kumar

Age: 24

Position: Defender

Caps: 90

Surender Kumar hails from Haryana and made hisInternational debut for the Senior team at the Men’s Asian Champions Trophy 2013. The 24-year-old came through the ranks of the junior team set-up where he made his debut in 2012. He was a part of the Junior team which finished 10th at the FIH Junior Men’s World Cup in 2013. His performances in the Hockey India League and domestic circuit saw him getting selected regularly in the senior team in 2016, and since then he has participated at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Hero Men’s Asia Cup 2017 and FIH Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2018. Many International hockey critics have appreciated his unique tackling and clearing skills in defense.

AmitRohidas

Age: 24

Position: Defender

Caps: 62

AmitRohidas hails from the state of Odisha and made his International debut at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2013 in Malaysia. He was also a part of the Men’s Asia Cup team in 2013 that won the Silver Medal. After making a memorable debut in the junior squad at the U18 in Asia Cup in 2009, Rohidas was part of the junior squad right up to the 2013 FIH Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup in New Delhi. He often found a place in the senior camp too and even played at the 2014 Hockey Men’s World League Final.However, after not getting into the national side for close to two years, the defender finally made a comeback to the national team in 2017 after having proved his mettle in the Hockey India League. Since his comeback, he has impressed with his drag-flicks and defensive duties, and has been a part of the Gold Medal winning team at the Hero Asia Cup 2017, Bronze Medal winning side at the Odisha Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017, Commonwealth Games 2018 and the Silver Medal winning team at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018. 

Rupinder Pal Singh

Age: 27

Position: Defender

Caps: 195

At the age of 27, Rupinder Pal Singh is one of the best drag-flickers in the world. Hailing from Punjab, the lanky six-footer made his International debut in 2010 when he was a part of the team that won the Gold Medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. The defender has since represented India in all major tournaments, twice winning the Gold Medal at the Asian Champions Trophy (2011, 2016). He was also a part of India’s Gold Medal winning feat at the 2014 Asian Games and the Silver Medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The defender established himself as one of the best defenders in the country, and was rewarded for his performances as he was made the Vice-Captain of the team at the 2014 Men’s Hockey World Cup. His performances both in international and domestic circuits have earned appreciation from all parts of the globe, but his stand-out year was 2016 where he was also named as the “Player of the Tournament” in the Hockey India League, representing the Delhi Waveriders. The 27-year-old also helped India win the Gold Medal at the Asian Champions Trophy 2016, Bronze Medal at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 and the Silver Medal at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

Birendra Lakra

Age: 28

Position: Defender

Caps: 163

Birendra Lakra hails from the state of Odisha and made his Senior team debut in the South Asian Games in 2010. He started playing in the Junior National Championship at the age of 14 while representing the SAIL Hockey Academy in 2004. Later he was included in the Indian junior team for the first time for Singapore Tour in 2007. He also went on to represent India in the Champions Challenge tournament in South Africa in 2011, the SAAF Games at Dhaka in 2010, the Youth Olympics at Sydney in 2009, and the Junior World Cup at Singapore in 2009. He scored the first goal in India’s stupendous victory in the final game of the Olympic Hockey Qualifying Tournament against France in 2012 but the team failed to qualify. The 28-year-old played an essential role in taking India in to the semifinals of FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2012. Lakra was a part of the Indian team that won a Gold Medal at the 2014 Asian Games, he also played an important role in India’s Bronze Medal feat in the FIH Men’s Hockey World League Final in Raipur in 2015. He not only got a Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games 2014 to his credit but also featured in India’s Bronze Medal outing at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2012. The defender has also been a part of the team that won the Bronze Medal at the FIH Men’s Hockey World League Final 2017 and the Silver Medal at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

Sardar Singh

Age: 32

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 307

A born leader, Sardar Singh became the youngest player to captain the Indian team at the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He hails from Haryana and is also a Deputy Superintendent Police Officer with the Haryana Police. He made his debut for India in the junior team during India’s 2003–04 tour of Poland.Later in 2006, he made his senior debut against Pakistan in a bilateral series. He has been awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015; and was conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2017.He commands the Indian midfield, using the tonnes of experience to turn defence into attack swiftly. Sardar was also the highest-paid marquee player at the inaugural Hockey India League auctions as Delhi bought him for Rs. 42.49 lakhs in 2013.

Name: Manpreet Singh

Age: 26

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 225

The 25-year-old midfielder hails from Punjab and made his international debut in the year 2011 aged just 19. He has since represented the country at all major tournaments and featured in India’s fine victories at the Asian Games in 2014 and at the Asian Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy in 2016. Manpreet was also the captain of the Indian Junior Men’s team that took part in the 2013 Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup in India where India finished tenth, after he had won his first Gold Medal when his team lifted the Sultan of Johor Cup earlier that year. The midfielder was also a part of the Silver Medal-winning Indian team which lost to South Korea in the 2013 Asia Cup final as well as the 2014 Commonwealth Games Final which they lost to Australia. His on-field creativity and leadership skills have seen him grow into one of the mainstays of the team. To his credit, he was also made the Captain of the national team last year and led the team to important victories, which include a Gold Medal at the Hero Asia Cup 2017 and the Bronze Medal at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017. The midfielder last captained the team during the Commonwealth Games 2018, and helped India win the Silver Medal at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

Vivek Singh Prasad

Age: 18

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 23

VivekSagar Prasad is the youngest member of the squad and hails from Madhya Pradesh. Vivek’s ability to stay calm under pressure, and his maturity on the field saw him being named as the Captain for the tournament, where India finished with the Bronze medal. The 18-year-old was afterwards called up for the senior National Camp in Bengaluru, and impressed Chief Coach SjoerdMarijne, who picked up for the team’s Four Nations Invitational Tournament in New Zealand earlier this year. The midfielder also became the second youngest player ever to represent the country at 17 years, 10 months and 22 days old, behind only former player Sandeep Singh.

Simranjeet Singh

Age: 21

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 17

The 21-year-old midfielder hails from Punjab.He is also a product of the Surjit Singh Hockey Academy and represents the state of Punjab in the domestic circuit. The midfielder impressed the selectors with his exploits in the national championship in 2016, and was hence selected to be a part of the squad that took part in the FIH Junior Men’s World Cup 2016 where the team won the Gold Medal. Consistent performances with the Junior team made sure that he was given his Senior Team debut in early 2018 during the 4 Nations Invitational Tournament in New Zealand. He has since been involved in India’s Silver Medal winning campaign at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

SV Sunil

Age: 29

Position: Forward

Caps: 243

With over 200 International Caps, Forward SV Sunil brings incredible experience and speed to the Indian team’s forward-line. The 29-year-old Coorg-born Sunil made his international debut in India’s successful outing at the 2007 Asia Cup in Chennai. The following year, he was part of the Indian team that won Silver Medal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2008. The high point in his career came in the 2011 Champion’s Challenge where he scored an incredible four goals, the most by an Indian forward in a match. Regarded as one of the fastest men on the hockey pitch currently, Sunil has been one of the most reliable players in the Indian team and also shouldered the responsibility of a deputy captain at the Rio Olympics in 2016. His ability to dribble past defenders with some serious pace makes him a threat for the opponents. He was also a key member of the Silver Medal winning Indian teams at the last two editions of the FIH Champions Trophy in 2016 and 2018. The 29-year-old was also instrumental in India’s successful outing at the Hero Men’s Asia Cup 2017 as well as the team’s Bronze Medal feat at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017.

Mandeep Singh

Age: 23

Position: Forward

Caps: 112

One of the youngest to break into the Indian team, and over the years,Mandeep Singh has been a delight to watch. His unconventional ways of creating scoring opportunities makes him a standout member in India’s forward-line. It was his stint with the Ranchi Rhinos, a Hockey India League franchise, during the 2012-13 season that saw him emerge as a potential star. He made his International debut in 2013 at the Hockey World League Round 2 and since has been regular feature in the team’s attack. He was also part of the Indian Team’s historic Junior World Cup victory in 2016. Earlier that year, Mandeep featured in India’s Silver Medal win at the 36th FIH Champions Trophy and also won a place in the team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He was part of the team that won the 2017 Hero Men’s Asia Cup, the Bronze Medal at Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 and completed his 100 International Caps for India during the Commonwealth Games 2018. He was also a part of the team that won the Silver Medal at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018. 

Akashdeep Singh

Age: 23

Position: Forward

Caps: 161

A vital member in India’s forward-line, 23-year-old Akashdeep Singh’s ability to create scoring opportunities makes him a danger man for the opponents. He leads the team’s attack with pace and vigor, his performance often notching up crucial victories for the team. He made his International Debut at the FIH Champions Trophy in 2012 and was part of the Indian squad that won the Asian Games Gold in 2014. He also has to his credit, the Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the Bronze medal at the 2015 World Hockey League Final in Raipur. He was also part of the team that won the 2017 Hero Men’s Asia Cup in Dhaka. In his 150th match for the Indian team, Akashdeep Singh played a significant role in India’s Quarter Final win against a strong Belgium team at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017. Having been rested for the New Zealand Tour and the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018, Akashdeep Singh made a comeback during the Commonwealth Games 2018.

Dilpreet Singh

Age: 18

Position: Forward

Caps: 23

Dilpreet Singh hails from Punjab and made his International debut at the Four Nations Invitational Tournament in New Zealand earlier this year. The young forward started off his career at the domestic level with Hockey Punjab. His performances in the domestic circuit saw him being named in the Junior team core probables in 2017, and he was later selected to represent the country at the 7th Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia in 2017. His nine goals at the tournament where India won Bronze medal, saw him being drafted to the Senior team’s National Camp earlier this year. The youngster performed well in his first outing for the Senior team in New Zealand, and has since participated at the Commonwealth Games 2018, and won the Silver Medal in the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.

Lalit Kumar Upadhyay

Age: 24

Position: Forward

Caps: 76

Having patiently waited for his turn to be part of the Indian Team, LalitUpadhyay has made great amends to his game that has won him a spot in the forward-line. The 24-year-old from Varanasi has been a regular member in the Senior Core Group since 2014. It was his consistent performances during the Hockey India League for Kalinga Lancers that brought him to the reckoning and the national selectors rewarded him with a place in the Senior Core Group in 2017.He scored in India’s crucial matches at the 2017 Hero Men’s Asia Cup team which India eventually won beating Malaysia in the Final. He was also part of the Indian team that won a Bronze Medal at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 and the Silver Medal at the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy 2018.