Hockey: Manpreet to lead full strength India in 2022 Commonwealth Games
Only the winner of the Asian Games gets direct qualification to Paris 2024.
With the 2022 Asian Games standing postponed, India will send its best ever squad to Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Though Hockey India had earlier announced that an experimental team coached by Olympian Sardar Singh will represent the country in the Birmingham Commonwealth games, it has now reviewed its decision.
One of the prime factors for sending the full strength team to Birmingham is the postponement of the Asian Games to next year. Since the Asian Games is the qualification tournament for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Hockey India wanted to preserve its best squad for the Olympic qualifier. Only the winner of the Asian Games gets direct qualification to Paris 2024.
Another factor for change in the decision to send a full strength squad is the poor finish of the experimental side in the Asia Cup held in Jakarta where India finished a poor third. The team that participated in the Jakarta tournament had only a sprinkling of experience as the majority of players were debutants in senior level of competitive hockey. The team was coached by Sardar Singh.
Hockey India reposed its trust in Olympian Manpreet Singh and drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh as captain and vice-captain of the 18-member squad that will play in the Commonwealth Games.
The Indian team has been grouped in pool B along with England, Canada, Wales and Ghana.
Other teams include Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan.
The two-time former silver medallist India will start its campaign on July 31 against Ghana.
It may be recalled that Manpreet had led India to a historic bronze medal win at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year. After a brief break during which drag flicker and defender Amit Rohidas led India, including the FIH Pro League, Manpreet is back in the saddle.