Both Amarjit Singh Kiyam and Jeje Lalpekhlua remain unavailable as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.
The India national team play their next FIFA World Cup qualifier against neighbouring country Bangladesh on 15th October at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata and the preliminary squad has also been selected by Igor Stimac.
After the stunning draw against AFC Asian Champions Qatar earlier this month, the Blue Tigers are expected to pick up their first win of the qualifiers against an unpredictable Bangladeshi side. Stimac is not taking the game lightly at all and has picked the cream of the crop for the decisive game next month.
One noticeable absentee from the preliminary squad is Rowllin Borges, who has been kept out as he’s suspended due to picking up too many bookings in the earlier qualifiers. He is expected to be back for the latter games, but for now will continue pre-season training with his club Mumbai City FC before the Indian Super League(ISL) kicks off five days after the World Cup qualifier.
After his sensational showcase against Qatar, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu headlines the goalkeepers’ list, with Amrinder Singh and Kamaljit Singh picked alongside him. The strong backline of Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Sandesh Jhingan and Mandar Rao Dessai are all in the preliminary squad and are expected to start unless someone else impresses Stimac in training.
Alongside them, experienced candidates Pritam Kotal, Subhashish Bose and Anas Edathodika all make the list along with youngsters Narender Gahlot, Nishu Kumar, Anwar Ali(JR) and Jerry Lalrinzuala in the defenders’ list.
In place of the absentee Borges, Mumbai City FC man Raynier Fernandes has made the preliminary squad. The youngster memorably appeared for Stimac’s side in the Kings Cup campaign in June, but has since struggled to solidify himself into the team after impressing against Thailand.
Udanta Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa and Sahal Abdul Samad are naturally included in the squad as they’ll be key towards breaking Bangladesh’s line on 15th October. Nikhil Poojary, who made his long-awaited return to the national team against Qatar, is also included alongside wingers Halicharan Narzary and Ashique Kuruniyan.
In the forward’s list, Sunil Chhetri returns to the squad after missing the Qatar game due to being ill. Manvir Singh, who gave a bright showing against the Asian Champions, is also included in the preliminary squad along with Balwant Singh and Farukh Choudhary. Jeje Lalpekhlua continues his recovery at Chennaiyin FC and with the lack of clinical centre-forwards, Stimac will once again hope Chhetri turns up his magic against Bangladesh next month.
India Probables in Full:
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh.
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Narender, Sarthak Golui, Anas Edathodika, Anwar Ali (Jr.), Mandar Rao Dessai, Subhasish Bose, Jerry Lalrinzuala.
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Vinit Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Abdul Sahal, Raynier Fernandes, Brandon Fernandes, Halicharan Narzary, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan.
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary