Long gone are the days when India dominated the world in field hockey, with maestri like Dhyan Chand in the 30’s and Leslie Claudius in the 50’s. The interest in the sport suffered a major downfall particularly in the past two decades with cricket coming into the limelight. Even the modest effort by the Premier Hockey League(PHL) was nowhere in comparison to its counterpart in cricket when it came to popularity. But with the appointment of Terry Walsh as the new coach, India has managed to get a taste of success in recent times. Let’s take a glimpse at our first XI.
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Guarding the fortress since the 2010 Hockey World Cup,the goalkeeper of Indian Hockey team has served India in the 2012 Olympics as well as 2014 World Cup. He was one of the craftsmen behind the Indian victory in the Asian Champions Trophy(2011).
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2. Birendra Lakra
He debuted in the Indian junior team in the Singapore tour(2007) as a fullback and has proved his worth in the senior team as well after 2012.He was instrumental in leading India to the semifinals of 2012 Champions trophy.
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3.Rupinder Pal Singh
Rupinder spent his early years in the Chandigarh Hockey Academy and debuted in the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy(2010).He is an excellent defender and specializes as a negotiator of penalty corners.
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As an experienced fullback he is a playing for India since 2005 and can boast for a powerful drag flick in his repertoire.
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Another senior member of the Indian Hockey team Gurbaj is a gifted defender from Punjab. He played for the 2010 Hockey World Cup,2010 and 2014 Commonwealth games and also a part of the 2012 Olympic Squad.
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Dharamvir, a midfielder has quite a few accolades to his name.He was named Midfielder of the Tournament in the 2013 All-India-MCC-Muruguppa Gold Cup and also voted the Player of the Tournament at the 2006 Junior Four Nations Tournament in Singapore.
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The skipper of the Indian side plays as a central midfielder.He led his side in the 2008 Azlan Shah trophy as the youngest Indian captain and was awarded “the player of the tournament” in the 2012 version of the same tournament.
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Donning as many 100 caps in just 3 years Manpreet Singh has earned his reputation as a mature player, a “thinking player” to be precise. He also hails from Punjab and plays as a midfielder.
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9.Gurwinder Singh Chandi
A valuable player both for his country and Delhi Waveriders Gurwinder Singh Chandi is another young gun from the Punjab who debuted in 2013.He is one of the chief forwards of India in the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow.
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The Karnatic forward was part of the Indian brigade that won the Asia Cup in 2007 held in Chennai and also the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2010 in which India joinly shared the Gold with Korea. In the 2012 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Sunil scored a goal in the final minute which helped India clinch a memorable victory against Pakistan.
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The timid lad of 20 had proved his abilities when he was selected ahead of his elder brother who played for the India junior team two years ago. Akashdeep is a product of Ludhiana academy and Surjit academy of Punjab and plays forward for his team.