India Hockey
India are confident of doing well at the World CupHockey India

Veteran midfielder Gurbaj Singh made a return as Hockey India announced their 18-man squad for the World Cup starting from 31 May in Hague, Holland .

The 25-year-old, who was a part of the 2007 Asia Cup winning squad in Chennai, last played for India in the 2012 London Olympics before being dropped due to his dip in form.

PR Sreejesh and Harjot Singh are the goalkeepers in the squad while Rupinder, VR Raghunath, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam and Manpreet Singh have been called up to strengthen the defence.

The team will be captained by midfielder Sardar Singh while fullback Rupinder Singh has been named the vice-captain.

Sardar, who said he is pleased with his side's preparations, is eager for the tournament to start.

"I am honoured to lead the team while playing my second World Cup," Sardar said. "We have the world's best coaches who have trained us hard both physically and mentally to put up a good show and deliver better results in the matches.

"Each member of the team is confident of performing well and living up to the expectations of everyone."

India team coach Terry Walsh , who put the team under rigorous training sessions in the past couple of months, is confident his side will do well in the upcoming tournament.

"The major focus was on physiological improvement and identification of the key playing concepts we believe can produce the most powerful performance with appropriate implementation," said Walsh.

"The World Cup in Holland is a huge challenge for us and we as a team of players and support staff are really excited with the opportunities ahead. Nothing will be easy, we know that. We are excited about being measured alongside the world's best.

"We are honoured to have the victorious World Champions of 1975 with us and we hope we can produce performances they and the rest of Indian hockey can be proud."

India, who will be leaving for Holland on 21 May, are grouped in Pool A alongside Australia, Belgium, England, Spain and Malaysia . The team will be playing their first game against Belgium on 31 May.

Squad: Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh and Harjot Singh

Defenders: Gurbaj Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, VR Raghunath, Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam and Manpreet Singh

Midfielders: Sardar Singh, SK Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh, Jasjit Singh and Chinglensana Singh

Forwards: SV Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah and Mandeep Singh.