Indian men’s hockey team fullback Varun Kumar made his 100th international appearance in the FIH Pro League first leg match against Spain at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar. The 26-year-old Jallandhar lad celebrated his personal milestone scoring a crucial penalty corner goal to bring India on level terms before a last-gasp strike by Harmanpreet Singh sealed the fate of Spain.
Varun made his international debut in the 2017 Europe Tour of Belgium and Netherlands – he scored his maiden international goal on that tour, scoring in India’s 4-3 win over the Netherlands. Widely touted as the best drag-flicker among the current crop after Harmanpreet Singh, the BPCL-employed defender was not part of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics squad of 16 but was added as one of two additional players (other being Simranjeet Singh) by the organizers – the International Olympic Committee (IOC) owing to Covid-19 pandemic. At Tokyo, Varun scored a crucial goal in India’s 3-1 win over Argentina.
A member of the 2016 Junior World Cup-winning team, Varun has been part of several successful international campaigns of the Blueshirts. He was part of the bronze-winning 2017 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup team, gold-winning 2017 Asia Cup team, silver-winning 2018 Champions Trophy team, 2018 bronze-winning Asian Games team, gold-winning 2018 Asian Champions Trophy team as well as the 2021 bronze-winning Asian Champions Trophy team.
Varun had also featured in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 World Cup where India failed to make a podium finish. He was India’s top goal-scorer at the 2019 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with 5 goals – in all he scored 26 international goals in 100 international matches.
The Indian fullback sustained an injury in October 2019 and was out of international action for three months – he had to given the 2020-21 Pro League matches against the Netherlands and Belgium a miss, subsequently marking a comeback during the Pro League games against Australia.
At 26, Varun is playing the best hockey of his life and should serve India for a long time to come.
got injured in october 2019 3 month absnce missed pro league vs dutch n belgium returned vs ausrralia
Spain Men vs India
1-6 v eng
2-3 eng last minute goal
Spain – missing many from tokyo olympic side – goalkeeper Quico Cortes, defender Miquel Delas, midfielder Roc Olivia,Marc Boltó,Marc Salles forwards Pau Quemada, David Alegre, Xavi Lleonart
Olympic team members in Pro League
Defender – Ricardo Sánchez 107,
Midfielder – Álvaro Iglesias 163,
Forward – Enrique González 134,
Fred Soyez, the Frenchman who leaves after seven years as national coach
Pro League Scheduling Poor
France men played 8 games vs india, sa, dutch, germany in 12 days in Potchefstroom from
South Africa played 8 games in 13 days
dutch 4 games in 5 days
ger 4 games in 6 days
india eves asia cup jan 21-28 5 games7 days in 2 days played china in pro league on jan 31 n feb 1
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Suraj Karkera
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Mor, Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Hardik Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Shamsher Singh, Nilakanta Sharma
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Shilanand Lakra, Sukhjeet Singh, Abhishek, Akashdeep Singh