The Asian Champions Trophy was an ideal preparation for the World Cup and the India camp will be the last chance for probables to prove their mettle before the squad is finalised, said coach Harendra Singh.
Hockey India on Wednesday named a 34-member core group for the final national camp before the season-ending men’s World Cup, to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16.
The 23-day camp will begin on Thursday at the Kalinga Stadium and the 34 campers will report to chief coach Harendra.
The camp will give Harendra chance to work with the core group and pick his final 18-member squad.
“Our campaign at the 5th Men’s Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 served as good preparation for the team before the World Cup, but now is the most critical time for us as we look to reinvigorate our spirits and work on the areas which need improvement,” Harendra said.
“The camp will give all the 34 core group players the chance to work hard and show what edge they can provide to the team,” he said.
“It is now time for all the core group players to step up and show what they can bring to the table.”
Having returned joint winners along with Pakistan from the recently-concluded Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat, the team will undergo intense training sessions under Harendra.
The 34-member core group includes three goalkeepers — PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera and Krishan Pathak while defenders Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Pardeep Singh, Suman Beck and captain of the junior men’s team for the Sultan of Johor Cup 2018, Mandeep Mor, have been called up for the camp.
Among midfielders, Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Sumit, Simranjeet Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Yashdeep Siwach and Vishal Antil have all been selected.
Akashdeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Sumit Kumar, Gursahibjit Singh and Shilanand Lakra will fight it out for slots in the forwardline.
Ace striker Ramandeep Singh, who underwent a knee surgery after sustaining an injury during the FIH Champions Trophy earlier this year, along with seasoned defenders Rupinder Pal Singh and Birendra Lakra, have also been included in the camp.
Experienced forward SV Sunil, who suffered a ligament injury on his left knee in the last camp, have also been included but it is not yet clear whether he has fully recovered from the ailment.