Bhubaneswar: Odisha defender Birendra Lakra, who was part of the silver medal winning Indian squad in the recently held Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, retained his place in the national team for the Asian Games.
Midfielder Sardar Singh was named the skipper of the squad, while seasoned goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, the lone keeper in the team was also assigned the additional responsibility of vice captainship. The team is scheduled to depart for South Korea on September 12, sources said.
Not only Lakra, but all the 16-members of the Indian team were retained by Hockey India for the Asian Games. The squad was announced in New Delhi on Thursday. The Asiad would be held in Incheon, South Korea from September 19 to October 4.
Despite India’s lacklustre performance against strong opponents Australia in the CWG final (which the Aussies won with a 7-1 margin), Hockey India selectors decided not to change the squad, which despite the CWG final has played good hockey consistently. Apart from winning the silver medal in Glasgow Games, the Indian team also did well in the Bangladesh tour and proved in the recent selection trials at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, that they were the best available 16 for the Asian Games, the selectors reportedly stated.
India, the Bronze medallist in Guangzhou Asian Games as per schedule would begin their campaign against Sri Lanka on September 21. Sardar Singh’s boys would then take on Oman on September 23, play arch rivals Pakistan on September 25 and meet China on September 27.