The 16-team tournament begins on January 13 next year with the final scheduled for January 29. It will be hosted by two cities in Odisha — Rourkela and Bhubaneswar.
The No.6-ranked India have been clubbed in Pool D alongside England, Spain and Wales. The hosts will open their campaign against the Spaniards on January 13 in Rourkela at the new, purpose-built Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium.
The core-group of 33 players were put through a two-day selection trial at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru to pick the squad that will be expected to end India’s 47-year wait for another World Cup triumph. India clinched its one and only World Cup way back in 1975.
Odisha defender Amit Rohidas will be Harmanpreet’s deputy, while PR Sreejesh will continue to guard the post in his fourth World Cup appearance — third on home soil.
The return of Vivek Sagar Prasad in the midfield, which will be led by former skipper Manpreet Singh, is the most welcome news for the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists.
Vivek missed the recent tour of Australia as well as the Pro League due to an ankle injury.
Veteran striker Akashdeep Singh’s good form of late earned him the nod in the forward-line, which will also have World Cup debutants Abhishek and Sukhjeet Singh.
Rajkumar Pal and drag-flicker Jugraj Singh are the two alternate plyers, who will be on standby.
“The World Cup is the most important ‘Hockey Only’ tournament there is,” said coach Graham Reid.
“A home World Cup puts extra importance and extra pressure on this event like no other. Every country chooses the best team they believe is available to them at the time and tries to provide their team with the best preparation they can.
“We have also tried to do both with the selection of our Indian World Cup team, choosing a mixture of experienced and younger exciting players who can provide something special.”
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Reid added: “We have also had great preparation over the last two months, including a home Pro League series and a very tough tour to Australia against the world’s No. 1 (side). We are looking forward to getting to Odisha and put the finishing touches to our preparations for what will be an exciting and challenging tournament ahead.”
Goalkeepers: Krishan Bahadur Pathak, PR Sreejesh
Defenders: Jarmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh (captain), Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas (Vice captain), Nilam Sanjeep Xess
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Akashdeep Singh
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek, Sukhjeet Singh
Alternate Players (Standbys): Rajkumar Pal, Jugraj Singh
(Inputs: Hockey India Press Release)