New Delhi: Following their fourth place finish at the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Finals in Antwerp, the Indian team, under new chief coach Roelant Oltmans, will tour France and Spain from July 31 to August 14 to play a total of five matches.

The team will play two matches against France on August 3 and 5. They will then travel to neighbouring Spain for matches on August 10, 12 and 13. This tour is in preparation for the HWL Final to be played in India in November-December.

Hockey India (HI) on Monday named an experimental 21-member squad for the trip. The team was selected post the preparatory camp held in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh, earlier this month.

“It’s a very important series for us as this will be a base to understand how do we perform and deliver as a unit and the grey areas to be improved before the HWL Final. Based on the performance in December, our next step is then the Rio Olympics 2016,” Oltmans, who is also HI director high performance, said.

“Hence, from here all tournaments are very important for us as we have to keep working and growing as a team. We are not taking the upcoming series lightly as both teams are very competitive and playing against them will help better our tackle against the European style of hockey.”

While France is ranked No.17 in the world, Spain are No.11. India, on the other hand, are ranked eighth.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, Harjot Singh

Defenders: Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, V.R. Raghunath, Jasjit Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurjinder Singh

Midfielders: Sardar Singh, Chinglensana Singh, S.K. Uthappa, Satbir Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Devinder Walmiki

Forwards: S.V. Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Mohd. Amir Khan.

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