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Tuesday November 6, 2012

India retain 10 Junior Asia Cuppers for Sultan of Johor Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: India have retained 10 players from the team who finished third in the Junior Asia Cup for the Sultan of Johor Cup.

Coach Baljit Singh Saini, who took them to the tournament in Malacca, feels he has the right blend to win the Sultan of Johor Cup.

The Indians, then coached by Mukesh Kumar, finished fourth in the inaugural tournament last year.

Baljit said yesterday that the objective was to gauge the team’s standard ahead of the Junior World Cup in New Delhi next year.

“It remains a learning curve for us although we naturally want to win the title this year. But I would be happy to see an improvement in our game,” he said.

The two goalkeepers – Keshav Dutt, Sushant Tirkey, who played in the Junior Asia Cup have been retained while the others are Amit Rohidas, Sukhmanjit Singh, Harjit Singh, P L Thimmanna, Satbir Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Prabhdeep Singh and Mandeep Singh.

Manpreet Singh takes over the skipper’s armband from Akashdeep while the new additions are Gagandeep Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Talwinder Singh, Amon Mirash Tirkey and Gurmail Singh.

Baljit said that the new players selected have been with their training squad.

“They are not new in that sense. We rotate our players to give them the opportunity to gain experience. The ultimate aim is to have a strong side for the Junior World Cup next year,” he added.

“I want the players to understand the system we are playing and to show us how far they have improved. I want the players take the chance in Johor to cement their place in the team.”

The team have also benefited from holding joint training sessions with the senior squad coached by Australian Michael Nobbs.

“Having both teams train together fosters unity and they also get some quality sparring in training.”

The team are expected to arrive in Singapore tomorrow and play a few matches there before moving to Johor Baru.

Their opening match is against Australia on Sunday.

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