Rupinderpal, Varun, Manpreet to miss hockey tour to Europe

Seasoned defenders Rupinderpal Singh and Varun Kumar have been dropped from European tour of the national men’s hockey team as they are going through rehabilitation, an official familiar with the development said on Sunday.

“Kumar has an ankle problem while Singh is also unfit,” the official added.

Former skipper Manpreet Singh too will miss the tour, though due to personal reasons.

The national team of 22 players and six support staff are leaving for their first international tour after nearly 12 months as the Covid pandemic had disrupted the global and domestic competition.

The national team will play a series of matches against Germany and England during the 17-day European tour. India will play Germany on February 28 and March 2. The national team will then travel to Antwerp, Belgium, to play against England on March 6 and March 8.

India last played Australia during the Hockey Pro League matches held in Bhubaneswar in February last year.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to go to Europe. We are looking forward to having our first competitive matches in just over 12 months. Playing against powerhouse teams like Germany and England will provide us with great competition and help immensely in our FIH Hockey Pro League and Olympic Games preparation. Playing any top 10 ranked team is always a great experience for the team,” national team coach Graham Reid had said earlier.