Sandeep, Shivendra back in national hockey squad

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Drag-flick expert and forward Shivendra Singh returned to the 18-man squad which Hockey India (HI) announced Wednesday for the FIH World League Round 3 (Semifinals) to be played at Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, June 13-23.

HI selectors Col. Balbir Singh, B.P. Govinda, director of high performance Roelant Oltmans and chief coach Michael Nobbs along with government observer Harbinder Singh selected the players during the meeting held May 17.

The team will be captained by Sardar Singh (167 caps) while defender V.R. Raghunath (137 caps) will be vice-captain.

The team’s camp is currently underway at the Netaji Subhash Southern Centre (NSSC), Bangalore. The team will leave for Rotterdam June 5 with their opening match scheduled against Ireland June 13.

India qualified for the semifinals in February by winning the World League Round 2 in New Delhi. The World League is a qualification tournament for the 2014 World Cup to be played at The Hague in the Netherlands from May 31 to June 15.

India is placed in Pool B with hosts Netherlands, New Zealand and Ireland while Australia, Spain, Belgium and a fourth team (to be known after the conclusion of the final tournament of the World League Round 2 Sunday) are placed in Pool A.

Following is the list of the 18 players:

Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, P.T. Rao.

Defenders: V.R. Raghunath (vice-captain), Sandeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Harbir Singh Sandhu.

Midfielders: Birendra Lakra, Sardar Singh (captain), Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Gurmail Singh.

Forwards: S.V. Sunil, Shivendra Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah, Dharamvir Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh.

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