Manpreet Singh will captain  the young Indian team
Manpreet Singh will captain  the young Indian team

Twelve months after securing a silver medal by reaching the Hero Champion Trophy final, which they lost to Australia, the Indian hockey team is back to contend for the Hero Hockey World League Semi-finals, when they face Scotland today.

The fact that Indians fancy their chances despite missing out on some experienced and top-flight names like goalkeeper and skipper, PR Sreejesh and Rupinder Pal Singh, and midfielder SK Uthappa, indicates that this mix of youth and experience has cemented its place among the elite club of world hockey.

The replacements are young and energetic. Sreejesh's absence provides the goalkeeping duo Akash Chikte and Vikas Dahiya a chance to showcase their abilities. Defender Jasjit Singh Kular, who replaces Rupinder, is also a dragflicker.

This kind of a bench strength is something that has come about only in the last few years and it augurs well for a team that still dreams of an Olympic medal, which last came their way in 1980.

With Sardar Singh having been relieved of his duties as a skipper to focus on marshaling the midfield. Manpreet Singh, will lead the team in Srejesh's absence.