Sardar among 55 players named for men’s national camp

Sardar Singh, who was considered out of contention after the team management made its preference for younger players clear during the CWG, has been brought back following the team's disappointing outing in Gold Coast.

Sardar Singh will be keen to make the best of the opportunity to make a comeback into the national hockey team.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The 55-member jumbo probables list for the next men's training camp was announced by Hockey India on Thursday, with former captain Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh coming back into contention.

The camp will be held from April 27 to May 18 in Bengaluru and the list would be pruned down to 48 after the trials in the first week of May. Besides the 18 players who were part of the Indian team at the recent Commonwealth Games, the probables include players from the domestic circuit who impressed during the National Championships (A and B Divisions).

Sardar and Ramandeep, both considered out of contention after the team management made its preference for younger players clear during the CWG, have been brought back following the team's disappointing outing in Gold Coast, as was first reported by Sportstar. While some of those making the cut from the National Championships are former India players bouncing back into reckoning, there are others coming into the national set-up for the first time.

Goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya, drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh and midfielder Pardeep Mor are among those who have been part of the Indian camp in the past. Defenders Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Dipsan Tirkey and Nilam Sanjeep Xess were also part of the last camp before CWG.

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Those coming into the camp for the first time include Pardeep Singh of Railways and Mohd Raheel of Air India, along with Maninderjeet Singh of Punjab & Sind Bank, V. Veerthamizhan (AIU), Somjeet (Haryana), Abharan Sudev (Karnataka) and Jagdeep Dayal (Canara Bank). Interestingly, only one member from the title-winning Punjab side, led by Gurbaj Singh, has made the cut – midfielder Dharminder Singh.

On the other hand, the list sees some surprising omissions, raising questions on the future of senior players like Nikkin Thimmaiah and S. K. Uthappa, both of who went to the Rio Olympics but now find themselves out of the 55-member list. Also absent are forwards Affan Yousuf and Talwinder Singh, goalkeeper Akash Chiikte and Junior World Cup winning captain Harjeet Singh who has been unable to raise his game at the senior level.