Exuding confidence that the Indian team will perform well in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament to be played in Ipoh (Malaysia) from March 9, the newly-appointed captain of the Indian hockey team Danish Mujtaba said a new chapter in Indian hockey is waiting to be written.
Danish was on Wednesday named the captain of the team for the Sultan Azlan Shah invitational, selected on the basis of their performance in the ongoing Hero Hockey India League.
"It is a dream come true for me. I had toiled hard and I have got the returns. It is an honour for me to lead the country in international hockey. However I will continue to play as a common player," he told TOI from Delhi.
The 23-year-old has hockey in his blood - his maternal grandfather Idris Ahmed, his uncle Atif Idris and elder brother Hamza Mujtaba have played for India.
A product of Delhi-based Air India-SAI Hockey Academy, Danish made his national debut against Canada in 2009. He represented India during the London Olympics. He is currently playing for the Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League (HIL).
Meanwhile there was no place for Hockey India League (HIL) leading scorer Sandeep Singh in the 18-member India squad.
Hockey India (HI) picked the squad on the basis of the performance of the players in the HIL sending a strong signal to Sandeep to reassess his international career.
Sandeep, who was a marquee player of the league, was also struggling to get a team but Mumbai Magicians bought him for a base price of $27,800.
Sandeep was also overlooked for the 18-member squad for the Hockey World League Round 2 that was picked Tuesday and was put as a stand-by. For the Azlan Shah Cup also Sandeep’s name features among the stand-bys. Sandeep has been out of the national squad since India’s hockey debacle at the London Olympics.
The team was picked by HI selector Syed Ali, chief coach Michael Nobbs and exercise physiologist Jason Konrath along with government observer Harbinder Singh.
Goalkeepers: P.R.Sreejesh (vice-captain), Sushant Tirkey
Fullbacks: Rupinderpal Singh, Harbir Singh, Gurjinder Singh
Half-backs: Amit Rohidas, Gurmail Singh, Manpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, M.B.Aiyappa
Forwards: Danish Mujtaba (captain), Nithin Thimmaiah, Satbir Singh, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, Dharamvir Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi
Standbys: Keshav Dutt (goalkeeper), Sandeep Singh (defender), Pardeep Mor (midfielder), Surender Kumar (midfielder), Malak Singh (forward), Imran Khan (forward), Amon Mirash Tirkey (forward), Siddarth Shanker (forward).