17th Asian Games-Incheon 2014 logo

Seasoned midfielder Sardar Singh will lead India as the former Asian Games field hockey champions bid to regain their title later this month, Hockey India said on Thursday.

The 16-man squad, buoyed by a strong showing at the Commonwealth Games, will be coached by former Australian international Terry Walsh at the September 19-October 4 Games in the South Korean city of Incheon.

The eight-time Olympic champions have won the Asiad title only twice, both times in Bangkok in 1966 and 1998. They finished third in Guangzhou four years ago behind Pakistan and Malaysia.

India are drawn in group B of the 10-nation competition alongside defending champions Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Oman and China. Group A comprises hosts South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Bangladesh and Singapore.

Two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals and the winner will gain an automatic qualification to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

India were losing finalists to world champions Australia at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

India’s Asian Games squad (international appearances in brackets):

Goalkeeper: P R Sreejesh (106).

Defenders: Gurbaj Singh (170), Birendra Lakra (77), Rupinder Pal Singh (95), Kothajit Singh (77), V. R. Raghunath (166).

Midfielders: Dharamvir Singh (81), Sardar Singh (191 – capt), Danish Mujtaba (117), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (58), Manpreet Singh (103).

Forwards: Ramandeep Singh (17), Akashdeep Singh (47), S. V. Sunil (143), Gurwinder Singh Chandi (103), Nikkin Thimmaiah (17). Agence France-Presse

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