Out-of-form drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and forward Shivendra Singh were dropped from the list of probables for next months Asia Cup. The list of 48 players,which was released by Hockey India on Tuesday,also saw the omission of striker Yuvraj Walmiki whereas youngster Mandeep Singh,who impressed in the World League semifinals last month,was transferred to the junior squad keeping in mind the preparations for the junior World Cup in December.
Hockey India has also rested the two assistant coaches,Clarence Lobo and Mohammad Riaz,as the team hopes to achieve World Cup qualification by winning the Asia Cup to be held in Malaysia from August 24.
Chief selector of the national team,BP Govinda,said the exclusion of Sandeep and Shivendra was purely on the basis of their performance,which was much below expectations. The duo,in and out of the national team since the Olympics last year,were given a chance to redeem themselves after they were selected for the recently-concluded World League semifinals.
Sandeep and Shivendra have been dropped purely on the basis of performance. Sandeeps penalty corner conversion rate was not impressive whereas Shivendra hasnt looked sharp and fit enough, Govinda said.
Hockey India had decided to include them in the squad to ensure that the group of youngsters,who are preparing for the junior World Cup,is not disturbed. However,the experiment backfired as India finished sixth out of eight teams at the World League in Rotterdam.
While Sandeeps penalty corner conversion rate was abysymal,he was guilty of scoring an own-goal during the tournament,which further exposed his defensive frailty. Shivendra,on the other hand,did score a couple of sharp goals,but lacked consistency.
Meanwhile,Mandeep will return to the junior squad and prepare for their World Cup. Mandeep showed a lot of maturity with his positioning sense. He also helped earn penalty corners. But we need to focus on forming the junior team as well because of the World Cup so he will now be with that group, Govinda said.
Probables: (goalkeepers): PR Sreejesh,PT Rao,S R Katharu,Nanak Singh,Naveen Kumar,J Dayal,AK Pandey; (defenders): VR Raghunath,Rupinder Pal Singh,HS Sandhu,A Rohidas,SK Maylaram,Gagandeep Singh,D Chanamthabam,NP Singh,Gurmail Singh; (midfielders): Sardar Singh,Manpreet Singh,M B Aiyappa,Kothajit Singh,P Mor,V Dhar,B Lakra,Jaspreet Singh,Simranjit Singh,M Kullu,V Pillay,Sumit; (forwards): SV Sunil,G S Chandi,Chinglensana Singh,D Mujtaba,SK Uthappa,P Sommanna,N Thimmaiah,Dharamvir Singh,Akashdeep Singh,MG Poonacha,Prabhdeep Singh,PL Thimmanna,Sukhdev Singh,Gurpreet Singh,Jasjeet Singh,Nikin Thimmaiah,HP Singh,Manjinder Singh,M.K Muddappa,Gagandeep Singh.