Veteran Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh were today axed from Indian men's hockey team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and head coach Sjoerd Marijne said while the former lost out his place because of stiff competition, the latter was dropped because of inconsistent performances in recent past.
"Sardar was dropped from the Commonwealth Games team because of stiff competition for centre position and Ramandeep was omitted for his inconsistent performance. They, however, are good players," Marijne told PTI after the announcement of the squad here.
Sardar's exclusion was on expected lines as he performed below-par at this year's Azlan Shah Cup. However, a few eyebrows were raised at Ramandeep's exclusion as he performed decently in the same tournament.
While Manpreet Singh will don the captain's armband, Chinglensana Singh will be his deputy.
Admitting that world champions Australia would be the team to beat at the Gold Coast CWG, Marijne said Indian players need to be disciplined to win matches at the quadrennial event to be held at Gold Coast from April 4 to 15.
The Dutchman, however, expects to meet the reigning CWG champions and hosts Australia in the semifinals or the summit clash.
Sreejesh made a comeback to the side after recovering from a career-threatening Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury which he suffered during the Azlan Shah Cup in 2017. His brilliant show during the New Zealand tour saw him get his rightful place back.
Sreejesh will be backed by the 22-year-old talent Suraj Karkera who played a crucial part in the teams good show in Bhubaneswar last year in his senior counterpart's absence.
Manpreet said India's main focus would be to pull off a victory against Pakistan in their opening match.
"We need to focus on our plan and maintain discipline. That is the main thing," he said.
Manpreet praised India's performance in this year's Azlan Shah despite the team finishing a disappointing fifth in the six-team event.
"This is a very positive thing for us that the young team did well in Azlan Shah," he said.
"Most important thing is Chris' mindset. He brings in the winning mentality from Australia. The Australians always look to win matches which I like the most. We are learning many things from him," he said.
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