The Indian team for the 6-Nations Invitational Tournament has been announced today with Hockey India preferring experience over experiments for the tournament which will be held in Valencia Spain, between June 27-July 3, 2016.
The squad which will see Rupinder Pal Singh, Birendra Lakra will be back with Sardar Singh leading the team looks to be a strong powerhouse in its defenses with Raghunath, Harman Preet and Surender Kumar adding to Rupinder, Lakra and Kothajit Singh.
Sreejesh and Vikas Dahiya are the two goalies to feature in a tournament which also features Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland and the home country Spain.
The team will be held together in the midfield with Sardar Singh supported by Danish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh, Manpreet Singh, SK Uthappa, Devindar Walmiki & Harjeet Singh, while the forward line will include Talwinder Singh, SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah.
Speaking about the win, Sardar Singh, who’ll take over the captaincy from Sreejesh, said,”After winning our first medal at the prestigious Champions Trophy tournament over the weekend, and the first medal since the Bronze in 1982 as well as the best finish in any major Champions Trophy tournament so far, we are confident to deliver our best at the 6 Nations Tournament as well.”
Speaking further about how the tournament is going to work as a preparation for the Summer Olympics, he said,” All these matches are stepping stones towards the ultimate goal – Rio Olympics 2016. The brilliant display of tactical hockey during FIH Champions Trophy by the squad has positively elevated are Olympic medal-winning hopes. Three of the teams we face in Valencia are in our Pool at the Olympic Games, so that will help us assess and analyse our tactics better too.”
The Indian Chief Coach and the High Performance Director, Roelant Oltmans said, “I am really impressed by the boys with their recent performances, especially at the Champions Trophy Silver winning finale.”
They are implementing the learning of the training well into action at the tournaments. I hope we keep up the spirit and continue to deliver performances like this. The key to the tournament will be to use it almost as a host of friendlies, before the Games. We will try to maximise on our squad rotations, tactical experiments and analyse our opponents there. Most teams, will come with what resembles their full strength squad and so it will give us a good indication of our strengths and weaknesses, prior to Rio,” he further added.
India will start their campaign in the tournament on June 27, 2016 with Germans being the first opponents.