Sardar Singh gets a lifeline, named India Hockey Captain

Veteran Sardar Singh has got one more chance to prolong his international career after he was yesterday named captain of the Indian men’s hockey team for the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, a tournament where three players will make their debut for the country. The Tournament will be held in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia from Mar.3 to 10.

Sardar, who is in the twilight of his career, has been in and out of the team in recent times and was ignored from India’s last two international assignments.

Sardar last played for India at the Asia Cup but was dropped from the squad for the Hockey World League (HWL) Final last December and then for the tour to New Zealand.

But new chief coach Sjoerd Marijne handed another lifeline to the midfield ace when he was appointed to lead India at next month’s Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia after regular skipper Manpreet Singh was rested.

Sardar wants to continue till 2020 Olympics but with three big events — Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup — lined up this year, the Azlan Shah Cup probably is his last chance to impress upon the national selectors with the team think-tank setting their sights on a younger lot.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Suraj Karkera, Krishan B. Pathak; Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor; Midfielders: S.K. Uthappa, Sardar Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh; Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh (Vice-captain), Talwinder Singh, Sumit Kumar (Junior),  Shilanand Lakra.

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