New Delhi: Aiming for top-five finish in the Hockey World League, India captain Sardar Singh on Wednesday said his team is prepared for the tough challenge despite being young and inexperienced.
"We are a young team and still learning. We have prepared well for the tournament. We have a tough challenge ahead of us. Hopefully the boys will be at their best. We are hoping for a 4th-5th place finish. But we will have to work really hard for it," Sardar said at the Trophy unveiling ceremony of the inaugural edition of the competition.
Participating teams are viewing this competition as a platform to assess their preparation for the FIH Hockey World Cup in Hague this May.
"We have an exciting year ahead. There couldn't have been a better opportunity to test ourselves in a competition like this. We have high hopes from this year. Hopefully the team will also step up to the challenge," he said.
Seven top nations, besides India, would be vying for the title in the tournament to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from January 10.
India face England in their opening pool encounter on the opening day. The Indian side, which last played at the Asia Cup in September, will be competing in the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games besides the World Cup later this year.
"There are lot of important tournaments lined up for us. We would want to build some momentum in this tournament to have successful year," he added.
All captains of the participating nations were present at the ceremony to unveil the trophy.
The 18-player squad:
Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, Harjot Singh
Defenders: Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh, V.R. Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Khadangbam, Amit Rohidas
Midfielders: Sardar Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh, Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, M.B. Aiyappa
Forwards: Nikkin Thimmaiah, S.V. Sunil, Mandeep Singh, Affan Yousuf, Yuvraj Walmiki.