These youngsters are expected to become regular starters for the senior Indian Hockey Team in the future.

The Junior Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneshwar has just reached its climax with Argentina being crowned this edition’s champions. The South Americans beat Germany 4-2 to earn their second Junior World Cup win. In spite of the celebrations of the winning team, there was definitely some disappointment in the air at the Kalinga grounds, especially in the minds of the Indian fans as the hosts finished fourth in the tournament.

Despite putting up a good performance, India were eventually knocked out in the semi-finals, and failed to secure the bronze medal against France. The defending champions were definitely the hot favorites to win on home turf. But unfortunately it was not to be.

However, some of the players from the team put up impressive performance by helping the team reach the semi-finals after the opening match defeat to France. They may be considered some of the brightest future stars of Indian hockey.

Here are the five of the best performers from the Indian Colts at the mega event.

5. Vivek Sagar Prasad

Vivek Sagar Prasad was the captain of India at the Junior Hockey World Cup (Courtesy: DNA)

India’s captain at the Junior Hockey World Cup, Vivek Sagar Prasad led his team with confidence. His performance and control at the midfield definitely tilted the game in India’s favour. Be it assisting the defenders in the back or playing the ball forward, he did it with panache. Prasad was also instrumental in controlling the pace of the game.

The FIH Young Player of the Year showed mental grit and resilience in his first opportunity as captain in the Junior Hockey World Cup. The 21-year-old has fought against adversity all his life, even defying a career and life threatening collarbone injury. Prasad also added a goal to his name at the World Cup.

4. Uttam Singh

Forward Uttam Singh played his game to perfection, scoring in every game at the group stage. In fact, his goal against France in the 10th minute was India’s first goal at this tournament. Uttam followed it up with a brace against Canada and a solitary goal against Poland. His five goals made him the joint-second highest scorer in the Junior Hockey World Cup.

Even in the games he did not score, he linked up well with his teammates to create chances. He demonstrated great maturity and skills, which will no doubt see him as a successful senior squad player in the future. Uttam, who enjoys making space and receiving passes, will certainly be a threat to the opposition defence.

3. Shardanand Tiwari

Tiwari’s goal at the Junior Hockey World Cup in the quarter-final paved the way for the Indians to reach the semi finals. He pulled off a sensational drag-flick off a well taken penalty corner, in what was one of the contenders for goal of the tournament.

It was the only goal in the match and scored on the 21st minute of the game. It was the fourth goal of the tournament for the Lucknow-born player. His other goals included a brace against Canada in the 35th and 53rd minute and a solitary goal against Poland in the 38th minute.  India won handsomely in both of the group stage matches.

2. Araijeet Singh Hundal

Hundal scored five goals at the Junior Hockey World Cup (Courtesy: Hockey India)

A product of the famed Maharaja Ranjit Singh academy in Amritsar, Hundal certainly lived up to the expectations. He scored five crucial goals in the tournament, thus becoming India’s joint second-highest scorer in the Junior Hockey World Cup.

A hat-trick against Canada and a brace against Poland will certainly give him and the nation much confidence. His confidence in front of goal and the ease with which he dribbled past the defenders was thing to behold. In fact, he made the most number of circle entries in the competition. He might be a great option as the one to lead the line for the Indian senior team in the future.

1. Sanjay

One of the best drag-flickers of the Indian Junior Hockey team, Sanjay is considered one of the hardest hitters in the Indian hockey circuit. Known for his power-packed flicks and ability to find the corners, Sanjay scored eight goals, becoming India’s highest scorer at the Junior hockey World Cup.

He started off with a hattrick against France and scoring another against Canada in the following game. He finally topped if off with a brace against Poland. The vice-captain certainly played his part to perfection.

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