India men’s hockey team will be a mix of youth and
experience with goalkeeper PR Sreejesh leading the side.
As soon as PR Sreejesh’s name was announced as the captain of India hockey team headed for Rio Olympics, a huge roar filled up the hall. Politicians, administrators, former Olympians and others congratulated the players selected for the Games and it was a celebratory mood for everyone. Away from the frenzy, Harampreet Singh, the youngest player of the team, stood in a corner looking on as others continued with their celebrations and interviews. Rupinder Pal Singh, seeing that the youngster was standing alone, came up to him and cracked a joke. Harmanpreet smiled and then the senior calmed his nerves.
The feeling of being selected to represent your country in Olympics had to sink in. It was true for more than half of the team. India named the squads for the Olympics with nine new faces in the men’s team from last Olympics while women’s team will be in Olympics after a gap of 36 years.
Apart from Harmanpreet, Surender Kumar is another surprise pick. Only three months after playing his first major tournament, Azlan Shah Cup in April, he has impressed everyone to make his way into the team.
The 22-year-old has benefited after injury to Birender Lakra ruled him out of contention. Surender’s performance in the Champions Trophy was crucial in India’s campaign.