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Hockey: Top five players not in squad for Men's Pro League matches in March 2023

Published at :March 2, 2023 at 1:21 AM
Modified at :March 2, 2023 at 8:08 AM
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Saurabh Anand

After a disappointing World Cup campaign, the Indian men's team has seen the exclusion of a lot of familiar faces.

After a stellar performance in the Olympics 2020, the Indian team hockey team was expected to put up some good performance in the recently concluded FIH Hockey World Cup in India. India failed to advance from crossover and was knocked out of the tournament. This setback draws flack from fans as well as from experts. Expectations were a little higher than usual after a glorious Olympic, yet the team under Graham Reid was disappointed.  Talks were going on for changes in the team and a recent team selection for FIH Pro Hockey League had indicated that management is serious about performance over big names. India is set to play Germany and Australia in a triangular series in Rourkela from 10th March.

Selectors have chosen a younger squad eyeing the future of Indian Hockey. Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey has expressed that selectors have thought about keeping a good mix of youth and experience together. There are a few big names that go missing from the squad. A lot was expected from the players in World Cup but their collective failure and personal performances have put some brake on their international careers. Those who are dropped from the squad are taking part in the Senior men’s hockey national tournament going on in Bengaluru. Fans are also a little disappointed to not see these names in the squad.

5- Krishan Bahadur Pathak

Krishan Bahadur Pathak, a reserve in the Olympics and the number two for Sreejesh in the FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 is also out of the team for the Pro League tournament. Pathak and Sreejesh shared two quarters of play each in every game of the World Cup. But now another young prodigy Pawan from Haryana will be taking his place. Pathak has earned praise for a few of his saves in the tournament, and his exclusion seems to be missing the context.

4- Simranjeet Singh

Simranjeet singh
Simranjeet Singh, when on song, is the X-factor of the team.

India’s Tokyo Olympics hero Simranjeet Singh’s selection has become a mystery in Indian Hockey. Simranjeet Singh suffered an injury last season that has kept him out of the squad for the longest time. Simranjeet Singh played a crucial role in India’s Olympic medal success. He is the bite that the team has missed against the big teams. A few reports also suggest his fitness has become an issue with the management and selectors.

3- Akashdeep Singh

Akashdeep Singh was in the team for a major tournament after missing out on the Tokyo Olympics 2020 side. And he did do comparatively well. He was one of the main field goal scorers and showed excellent understanding with Mandeep as the duo played some exquisite hockey in the opponent half in the World Cup. Akashdeep and Mandeep were key progressors and gave India most of the circle penetrations they earned in the World Cup.

2- Amit Rohidas

Amit Rohidas
Amit Rohidas is the first rusher of the Indian men's hockey team.

If anyone who came out as a champion for the Indian Hockey Team in defence is this man, Amit Rohidas. Amit’s contribution in recent years was magnificent earning him vice-captaincy of the team. The 29-year-old defender from Odisha is not in the squad. Hardik Singh will replace him as the Vice-Captain of the team. Rohidas’s exclusion is also a mystery for many.

1– Mandeep Singh

India’s goal-scoring machine has paid the price for his relatively lacklustre performance in Hockey World Cup. Mandeep Singh’s exclusion is the biggest taking point and a signal for the future for many players. With Mandeep Singh being dropped from the squad, selectors have given a clear signal that only name and past performances will not matter, players have to take responsibility in big games. This was something India missed during the World Cup.