Manpreet Singh: Asian Champions Trophy a good platform to test younger players

Captain Manpreet Singh on Saturday said that the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament, starting in Dhaka on December 14, would be a good platform to test the younger players.

FILE PHOTO: Olympic bronze medal-winning captain Manpreet Singh will lead a 20-member Indian men's hockey team at next month's Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Captain Manpreet Singh on Saturday said that the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament, starting in Dhaka on December 14, would be a good platform to test the younger players.

At a virtual press conference, Manpreet said, "The younger players have not got a chance for a long time as important events, including the Olympics, were lined up. They are getting a chance now."

READ: Hockey India names 20-member men's team for Asian Champions Trophy

He clarified that seasoned goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh had been rested.

Manpreet said the ACT would be a good platform for defending champion India to launch its campaign for the next Olympic cycle. “It's an important event as this is the first competition after the Olympics. The new cycle has begun and we want to do well ahead of big events like the FIH Pro League, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games next year.”

Both Manpreet and his deputy Harmanpreet wanted to repeat their 2017 Asia Cup success at the same venue.

Manpreet had a word of praise for the Indian players participating in the Junior World Cup here.”I spoke to (junior team captain) Vivek after the first match and told him we can do better. They need to have the belief that they can beat any team (in the quarterfinals),” said Manpreet.

Harmanpreet also shared some tips with the juniors after India's shock defeat to France. “I spoke to the defenders about timely interception of the dangerous ball, correct positioning and maintaining focus (throughout a match).”

Harmanpreet, who worked with the juniors on penalty corner conversion, liked the fact that India had a variety of drag-flickers. “It makes things difficult for the opponents,” said Harmanpreet.

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