The Indian men’s hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh on Tuesday returned to the side for the FIH Pro League games against Olympic champions Argentina next month.
Manpreet had opted out of the recent Europe tour due to personal reasons.
Experienced drag-flick specialist Rupinder Pal Singh as well as Varun Kumar, who had missed out the previous tour owing to rehab, are also back in the mix.
Hockey India announced a 22-member squad which will take on Argentina on April 11 and 12 in Buenos Aires.
India will also play two practice matches against the home team on April 6 and 7, followed by two more on April 13 and 14 as part of their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics this July.
The squad includes goalkeepers PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Amit Rohidas, Gurinder Singh, Surender Kumar, Birendra Lakra, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Raj Kumar Pal, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Gurjant Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
The team also features Jaskaran Singh, Sumit and Shilanand Lakra, who will be playing their first international match in over a year.
Experienced players Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Simranjeet Singh, who were part of the Europe tour, have been rested.
“We are taking a 22-man squad attempting to provide a good balance between giving experience to those players who need it and opportunities for players to perform on the international stage in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics,” stated Chief Coach Graham Reid in a statement.
“Argentina play a different style of game to the teams we played in Europe, and we will be using this tour as a great opportunity to continue our growth and development before Tokyo,” he added.
The team will leave for Buenos Aires on Wednesday for the 16-day tour from Bengaluru, following the mandatory RTPCR tests 72 hours prior to their departure.