Hockey World Cup 2023: The countdown for the much-awaited Hockey World Cup 2023 has begun. The high-octane tournament will be played in India from January 13. The first match of the tournament will be played between Argentina and South Africa at Odisha’s iconic Kalinga Stadium. India finished sixth in the 2018 edition after getting knocked out in the quarterfinals.
Team India’s ultimate goal will be to end its 47-year World Cup title drought, winning the coveted trophy in front of the home crowd. Ahead of the tournament, let’s have a look at the top five Indian hockey players to watch out for in Hockey World Cup 2023.
1. Harmanpreet Singh
Team India’s penalty corner specialist Harmanpreet Singh, who was also part of the India’s Hockey World Cup team in the 2018 edition, is a key player in the Indian squad. The superstar has won titles like an Olympic bronze medal at Tokyo 2020, junior World Cup and Asia Cup. Harmanpreet has played a big role in Indian hockey’s resurgence in recent years.
2. Akashdeep Singh
28-year-old Akashdeep Singh has played over 200 hockey matches for India men’s hockey team, scoring a total of 85 goals for the country. The Indian goal machine made his international debut in 2012 and will play his third World Cup in this year. Notably, the attacking midfielder is in great form as he recently scored a hat-trick in the Australian Test series.
3. Manpreet Singh
Manpreet Singh, one of the most capped Indian players, has been one of the mainstays in the national men’s hockey team. As a captain, he led team India to a historic bronze medal win in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Manpreet recently received the Arjuna Award for his contributions to Indian Hockey. His vast experience in the sport will surely help India get more scoring opportunities.
4. Mandeep Singh
Indian men’s hockey team’s star forward Mandeep Singh scored a total of 13 goals in the 2022 season to become the second highest goalscorer for the Indian team. He failed to net a goal in the five-match Test series between India and Australia but executed some crucial passes. Mandeep Singh is a penalty-corner specialist and the team can use his experience to get as many penalty-scoring opportunities as possible, which has been India’s main weapon.
5. PR Sreejesh
India men’s hockey team’s legendary goalkeeper PR Sreejesh is expected to play a key role in the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup. India have conceded many goals in their past few matches, which was also quite evident in the Australia series. PR Sreejesh faced heat after his performance in Men’s Pro League, but he made a comeback by performing well in the Australian Test series.