New Delhi, Jan 30: Former captain Rajpal Singh got the axe as Hockey India today announced a 18-member Indian team that will play in the London Olympic Qualifiers to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here from February 18 to 26.
Veteran midfielders Vikram Pillay and Arjun Halappa also failed to find a place in the team—to be led by goalkeeper Bharat Chetri—for the tournament to be participated by Canada, France, Italy, Poland and Singapore, besides India.
Halappa, however, has been kept as standby along with Manjeet Kullu (Defender), VS Vinaya (Midfielder) and Chinglensana Singh (Forward).
Striker Rajpal was retained in the 32-member probables which was cut down from the 45 earlier this month but the veteran could not manage a berth in the final 18.
Newcomers Kothajit Singh and S K Uthappa, who made impressive debuts in the five-Test series against South Africa, were retained, while veteran Ignace Tirkey also managed to secure a place in the team.
Senior players Tushar Khandker and Shivendra Singh will lead the forward line, which will also include S V Sunil Sarvanjit Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Danish Mujtaba and the talented Yuvraj Walmiki.
Sandeep Singh, V R Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh will man the defence, while Sardar Singh (Vice Captain), Manpreet Singh and Birendra Lakra will be the other midfielders in the team. PR Sreejesh will be the other goalkeeper.
The Indian team was selected on the basis of performances of the core group probables during the India-South Africa Test series by Hockey India Selectors, Col Balbir Singh, BP Govinda and Syed Ali alongwith government observers Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey.