Top Indian players to vie for top honours at National Hockey Championship A division

Star players such as Rupinder Pal Singh and S.V. Sunil will look to make a comeback into the team with their performances at the tournament in Gwalior.

Published : Jan 30, 2019 16:16 IST

Dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh, alongside striker Akashdeep will feature for Punjab Hockey.
Dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh, alongside striker Akashdeep will feature for Punjab Hockey.

Dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh, alongside striker Akashdeep will feature for Punjab Hockey.

Top hockey stars including Ramandeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh and SV Sunil will turn up for their respective home teams at the Senior National Hockey Championship A division starting here Thursday.

The 11-day star-studded domestic hockey extravaganza will see India striker Ramandeep, who suffered an injury during the FIH Champions Trophy last year, return to action after nearly six-month layoff.

He will be seen in Hockey Punjab jersey alongside Rupinder Pal, Akashdeep among other players in their campaign to defend the title.

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Experienced forward Sunil, who missed the men’s World Cup last year due to knee injury, will be seen in the captain’s role for Hockey Karnataka, while Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) features players such as Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Hardik Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Birendra Lakra.

Railway Sports Promotion Board’s Nilakanta Sharma, Chinglensana Singh (Captain) and Dilpreet Singh will also be in the fray.

Midfielder Nilakanta Sharma will feature for the Railway Sports Promotion Board alongside Chinglensana and Dilpreet.

Noted Odisha players Dipsan Tirkey, Nilam Sanjeep Xess and Shilanand Lakra will also turn up for their state squad while promising youngster Mandeep Mor, who starred in the junior men’s team silver medal feat at the Sultan of Johor Cup last year, will be seen in action for Punjab National Bank.

The event will also witness young stars awaiting to get noticed by the national selectors who will be closely watching the performances at this tournament.

“The selection of core group of players for the upcoming season will be based on their performance in the previous international tournaments,” Hockey India’s High Performance Director, David John said.

“Their performance at the tournament in Gwalior too will be taken into consideration and the national selectors will keep a close watch on the event.”

The pool stage will see five teams each in Pool A, B, C and D vie against each other to find a place in the quarterfinals.

Pool A includes Hockey Punjab, Hockey Chandigarh, Association of Indian Universities, The Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd and Services Sports Control Board.

Pool B features last year’s runners-up Petroleum Sports Promotion Board, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Hockey Haryana, Hockey Bhopal and Central Reserve Police Force.

Punjab and Sind Bank, Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Hockey Gangpur-Odisha and Punjab National Bank and Railways Sports Promotion Board will fight for the top two spots in Pool C while Air India Sports Promotion Board, Hockey Odisha, Namdhari XI, Hockey Karnataka and Canara Bank will slog it out in Pool D.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the quarterfinals on February 7.

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