The All India Football Federation (AIFF) have announced the list of probables for the Indian football team ahead of their two remaining Russia 2018 Preliminary Joint Qualifiers this month. Star striker Robin Singh remains the most notable absentee.
Stephen Constantine's men take on Iran on March 24 and go up against Turkmenistan five days later in their remaining Group D matches.
Robin played a key role in the previous fixtures of the competition for Constantine's men, but a knee injury he suffered during the SAFF Cup 2015 has dashed his hopes of making an appearance either for his club Bengaluru FC or for the national team this calendar year so far.
Sumeet Passi has taken up Robin's position in the squad.
India may have no chance of progressing to the next round of the World Cup qualifiers, but they will be hoping to making a statement in their last two fixtures of the competition and with it bow out on a high. The national football team have had an impressive 2016 so far, as they won the SAFF Cup 2015 final in the first week of January and just a month back, the India U-23 side reached the final of the South Asian Games 2016, where they lost to Nepal with a 2-1 scoreline.
Constantine believes momentum carried from the SAFF Cup win will be one of the crucial factors in helping them win their next two assignments.
"It's important that we sustain the momentum which we achieved by winning the SAFF Cup. Playing in Tehran [against Iran] will be a difficult game for us," the British coach was quoted as saying by the AIFF website. "Without disrespecting Turkmenistan, we want to get the maximum we can from our home match [in Kochi]," he added.
Constantine also announced that the team would be assembling later this month and the Ambedkar Stadium in the national capital will be their training venue. However, owing to AFC Cup 2016 assignments, players from Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC will be reporting to the camp at a later time.
"The boys would be assembling on March 16 and we will be practicing at the Ambedkar Stadium," Constantine continued. "However, as both Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC are involved in the AFC Cup, the boys from the two Clubs won't be able to be with us on the 16th.
"As Mohun Bagan play a home match in the AFC Cup (on March 16), they will report to the camp the next day while the boys from Bengaluru FC will report to the camp as soon as they are back from their away match," he added.
List of probables:
Goalkeepers: Subrata Paul, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Karanjit Singh, TP Reheneesh. Defenders: Aiborlang Khongjee, Augistine Fernandes, Arnab Mondal, Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Rino Anto, Narayan Das, Lalchhuanmawia. Midfielders: Pronay Halder, Bikash Jairu, Cavin Lobo, Rowlin Borges, Alwyn George, Md. Rafique, Malsawmzuala, Francis Fernandes, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Udanta Singh, Vineet Rai, Seityasen Singh. Forwards: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sunil Chhetri, Sumeet Passi, Halicharan Narzary.