NEW DELHI (TIP): Midfielder Harjeet Singh will lead the 18-member Indian Junior men’s hockey team in the 4th Sultan of Johor Cup, to be held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from October 12-19, Hockey India announced on Monday. Defending champions India, who would be looking to retain their title, boost of names like Imran Khan, Gurinder Singh and Jarmanpreet Singh, besides Harjeet — all four of whom have represented the Indian senior men’s team at international level. Forward Imran Khan will be the vice-captain of the side in the tournament.

The team was chosen by HI selectors BP Govinda, Harbinder Singh and RP Singh alongwith the coach of junior men hockey team Harendra Singh, coach B J Kariappa and physiotherapist Vinod Kumar on the basis of the performance of 33 junior men core probables during the selection trials conducted at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on September 19-20. “The boys made us proud last year by winning the third edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup and looking at their current form during the training sessions, I am confident that the team picked by selectors is ready to repeat their successful feat,” HI secretary general Narinder Batra said. Sultan of Johor Cup will see a total of six teams — Australia, Great Britain, Pakistan, New Zealand, Malaysia and India. India will be facing New Zealand in the opening match on October 12, followed by Great Britain (Oct 13), Pakistan (Oct 15), Malaysia (Oct 16) and Australia (Oct 18). The preparatory camp for the Sultan of Johor Cup is underway at the National Stadium since September 13 and will continue till the team’s departure on October 9.


The list of players:
Goalkeepers: Abhinav Kumar Pandey, Subodh Tirkey. Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Anand Lakra, Varun Kumar, Gurinder Singh. Midfielders: Santa Singh, Sumit, Harjeet Singh (Captain), SH Nilkantha Sharma, Simranjeet Singh. Forwards: Imran Khan (Vice-Captain), Parvinder Singh, Pawan Kumar, Aarman Qureshi, Sumit Kumar.

Out-of-box thinking is needed at Asiad: Dhanraj Pillay MUMBAI (TIP): For all the Olympic gold medals that India have won, the nation has only two gold medals at the Asian Games. Both have come in Bangkok (1966, 1998). India have the unfortunate distinction of finishing runner’s up on nine occasions and have a bronze, which they won four years ago in Guangzhao, China. A lot, though, is expected from the men’s hockey team from the Incheon Games in South Korea that begin on Friday. Dhanraj Pillay, under whom India last won the continental championships, feels meticulous planning from the coaching and support staff will play a critical role if India are to bag the yellow metal.

“Strategy will be extremely important if India are to do well,” Pillay, coach of the Air India team that is playing in the Mumbai Hockey Association League, stressed. “The backroom staff will have to think out of the box and will have to be absolutely perfect in their gameplan,” Dhanraj, who scored the match-winner to help India win the final in Bangkok 16 years ago, said. Incheon will witness the implementation of the 15- minute-a-quarter rule for the first time. But Pillay felt the rule will suit the coaches more. “It is a good rule for coaches. They can put the best playing XI in the first quarter while give them some rest too. Basically, the coach will have the luxury of rotating his players. But, I am not sure if the Indian players will be comfortable with the rule.