It is a crucial year for the men's team with major events lined up starting with the prestigious 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018 between March 3 and March 10 followed by the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games starting on April 4.
The Asian Games are slated in August where the team needs to defend their gold medal in order to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games and retain the status of being Asia No.1.
The year 2018 will also see the team play against top nations at the FIH Champions Trophy in Breda, Netherlands and at much-awaited Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 starting in November.
While the next two weeks for Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne will be about evaluating the team's performance in New Zealand, he also needs to ensure his men are mentally fresh and ready to embrace the challenge of a grueling 2018 calendar.
"The next two weeks will not just be about evaluating our performance in New Zealand but also to implement the changes to improve really fast. We have a short time to ready the 18 players for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup but with a two-week break, I can expect the players to come back fresh and hungry for the ball," expressed Marijne.
At the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the team will play world. No 1 Australia, world No.2 Argentina as well as England.
About playing these world-class teams, Marijne said, "It will be another opportunity to gauge how close we are coming to the best teams in the world. We just did well against World No.3 in both New Zealand and the Odisha Men's Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017, now we play world No.1 and world No.2 in March which will be yet another chance to gain knowledge about their different playing styles."
The full list is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Akash Anil Chikte, Suraj Karkera, P.R. Sreejesh, Krishan B Pathak
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Birendra Lakra, Surender Kumar, Gurinder Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Sardar Singh
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Sumit, Kothajit Singh, Satbir Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh, Harjeet Singh
Forwards: SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Armaan Qureshi, Affan Yousuf, Talwinder Singh, Sumit Kumar. (ANI)