Despite his goal-scoring spree in the ongoing Hockey India League, ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh continues to remain on the sidelines as India made four changes in their squad for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 to be held here from February 18 to 24.
Sandeep, who is the highest goal-scorer in the HIL so far with 11 goals, failed to earn a place in the 18-member Indian team to be captained by inspirational Sardar Singh in the upcoming tournament to be held at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here.
Sandeep, instead, has been picked as one of the six stand-by players by Hockey India selector Syed Ali, chief coach Michael Nobbs and Government observer Harbinder Singh, who selected team on the basis of their recent performance in HIL, according to a HI statement.
Drag-flick specialist V R Raghunath will continue to be Sardar's deputy in the team announced today.
The four players to have been left out of the squad are half-back Gurmail Singh and forwards S K Uthappa, Akashdeep Singh and Yuvraj Walmiki who all were part of India's runners-up campaign in the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha in December last year.
Riding on their impressive showing in the ongoing HIL, Gurjinder Singh, Malik Singh, Mandeep Singh and Chinglensana Singh Kangujam have been drafted into the squad for the Hockey World League Round 2, which is a part of the qualification process for the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup 2014 to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.
India's preparatory camp for the Hockey World League Round 2 will start at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium here from February 11, a day after the conclusion of HIL.
Apart from hosts India (FIH World Ranking 11), the other teams participating in the men's competition are Ireland (15), China (18), Oman (36), Bangladesh (40) and Fiji (71).
The Indian men's team will open their campaign against Fiji on February 18 followed by matches against Oman (Feb 20), Ireland (Feb 21), China (Feb 23) and Bangladesh (Feb 24).
Goal-keepers: PR Sreejesh, PT Rao.
Fullbacks: V R Raghunath (vice-captain), Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh.
Halfbacks: Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Sardar Singh (captain), Gurjinder Singh.
Forwards: Danish Mujtaba, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malik Singh, S V Sunil, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi.
Stand-byes: Sushant Tirkey (Goal-keeper), Sandeep Singh (Fullback), MB Aiyappa (Halfback), Gurmail Singh (Halfback), Akashdeep Singh (Forward), Imran Khan (Forward).
India vs Fiji on Monday (18th February) at 2000hrs.
India vs Oman on Wednesday (20th February) at 2000hrs.
India vs Ireland on Thursday (20th February) at 2000hrs.
India vs China on Saturday (23rd February) at 2000hrs.
India vs Bangladesh on Sunday (24th February) at 2000 hrs.