In what could be seen as a consequence of a medal-less campaign at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG 2018) in Gold Coast, Hockey India (HI) determined on Friday to hand back the captaincy of the men’s players to PR Sreejesh, approximately a year after naming Manpreet Singh as the skipper.
In addition, HI announced that both Sreejesh and Rani will remain skipper of the men’s and women’s teams till the end of the year.
Rumours are already rife that head coach Sjoerd Marijne’s choice and training methods are below the scanner after the Indian men’s hockey team failed to return from the Commonwealth Games not including a medal for the first time in 12 years. The women, on the other hand, unsuccessful to earn one for the third time on the trot.
Sreejesh come back to the leadership role after making a return from injury. The goalkeeper was made captain for the first time at the 2016 Champions Trophy when India won a historic silver medal. He also led India at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But throughout the 2017 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Sreejesh tore his forward cruciate muscle in the right knees which led to Manpreet replacing him.
The goalie returns to action at the four-nation invitational tournament in New Zealand in January facing making the squad for Gold Coast.
This is a very essential year for India with a plethora of main events, starting with the Champions Trophy (June 23-July 1), Asian Games (August 18-September 2), Asian Champions Trophy (October 18to28) and the most important, World Cup (November 28toDecember 16).
for now, Rani will continue in her position in upcoming events like the Asian Champions Trophy (May13-20), Women’s World Cup (July 21-August 5), Asian Games (August 18-September 2) after conduct India to the 2017 Asia Cup title.
“Besides being outstanding players, both Sreejesh and Rani command great respect. The two have leaded the country with great interest and we believe using their experience, they will carry on to do that in this all-important calendar year where both the teams have vital tournaments like World Cup and Asian Games to play in. The idea following announce one captain for all events until the end of the year was to bring constancy to the core of both the teams,” said HI secretary general Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed.