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Rupinder Pal Singh ruled out, Lakra to lead India at Asia Cup

Rupinder Pal Singh celebrates after scoring against Germany at Tokyo 2020. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

UPDATE: Rupinder Pal Singh has been ruled out of the upcoming men's Asia Cup hockey tournament due to a wrist injury. Rupinder, who was to captain the Indian team, injured his wrist during a training session, according to Hockey India.

Birendra Lakra, who was named Rupinder's deputy, will lead the Indian side while striker SV Sunil will now be the vice-captain of the 20-member squad. Rupinder has been replaced in the team by Nilam Sanjeep Xess.

The Asia Cup kick starts on May 23 in Jakarta. India are the defending champions. "It is unfortunate that Rupinder has picked up an injury during the training session and will not be a part of the Hero Asia Cup. Both Birendra and Sunil are vastly experienced and have been part of the leadership group for many years now," coach BJ Kariappa said.

"While we will miss Rupinder, we have plenty of options available in the pool. We've got a very talented group of players, and they are looking forward to utilising this opportunity," he added.

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India have named a 20-member squad for the forthcoming men's Asia Cup Hockey tournament, to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from 23 May to 1 June. This is a World Cup qualifier, and will see India, Japan, Pakistan and hosts Indonesia in pool A with Malaysia, Korea, Oman and Bangladesh in pool B.

There are many as 10 players make their first senior India squad, including jr. World Cup players Yashdeep Siwach, Abhisek Lakra, Manjeet, Vishnukant Singh and Uttam Singh. Also new in the squad will be Mareeswaren Sakthivel, Sheshe Gowda BM, Pawan Rajbhar, Abharan Sudev and S Karthi. Junior World Cup player Maninder Singh and Nilam Sanjeep Xess have been named as replacement players while Pawan, Pardeep Singh, Ankit Pal and Angad Bir Singh have been named as standbys.

Speaking about the team composition, Coach BJ Kariappa said, "The team is a good mix of experienced senior players and newcomers, many of whom have played at the international level in different age-group matches but have not made their Senior India debut. Since India has already qualified for the FIH Men's World Cup by virtue of being the hosts, this will be a good platform for us to try out this new group and test how these players utilize the opportunity."

Former India Captain and two-time Olympian Sardar Singh who will also accompany the team as Coach said, "This is a very talented group of players and I have seen them work really hard over the past few weeks to earn a place in the team. On a personal front, this will be my first tournament as India Coach and I am looking forward to this new experience," said Sardar.

Indian Men's Team:

Goalkeepers

1. Pankaj Kumar Rajak 2. Suraj Karkera

Defenders

3. Birendra Lakra (Captain) 4. Yashdeep Siwach 5. Abhisek Lakra 6. Manjeet 7. Dipsan Tirkey 8. Nilam Sanjeep Xess

Midfielders

9. Vishnukant Singh 10. Raj Kumar Pal 11. Mareeswaren Sakthivel 12. Sheshe Gowda BM 13. Simranjeet Singh

Forwards

14. Pawan Rajbhar 15. Abharan Sudev 16. SV Sunil (Vice Captain) 17. Uttam Singh 18. S.Karthi

Replacement Players

19. Maninder Singh