The 12-man roster for the Indian Senior Men’s squad that will take part in the Middle Asia Zone Qualifying Round matches against SAARC teams in New Delhi from July 13-15th has been released by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) and India coach Kenny Natt. India will play their first competitive international game under Natt against Sri Lanka on Wednesday evening at Delhi’s Thyagraj Stadium.
Indian Team for Middle Asia Zone Qualifying Round
India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal will be competing in these qualifiers to determine which team qualifies for one spot at the 26th FIBA Asia Championship for Men, which will be held in Wuhan (China) from September 15-25.
See the schedule of the qualifying matches here.
The team above has taken shape more or less like I had expected it to. We seem to have a good balance of experienced leaders, players in their prime, and fresh youngsters who will be getting their first chance to represent India at the international stage. No captain has been announced yet.
I'm going to guess that Natt's starting lineup will include Sambhaji as the point guard, Vishesh as shooting guard, sharp-shooting Trideep Rai as the small forward, and the Punjabi big men duo of Yadwinder and Jagdeep as our post players. The pleasant surprise at the National camp for the past month has been the resurgence and maturity of Sambhaji: India had been facing a mini-point guard crisis, since Arjun Singh has been nursing an injury and TJ Sahi had to leave camp duo to personal reasons. Sambhaji, one of the country's best ball-handlers and passers, has regained his form and will add veteran leadership to the starting five. Hareesh Koroth will be backing him up off the bench.
Of course, it's great to see the 15-year-old 7-footer Satnam Singh in this list as he gets ready to make his debut for India. Behind the two starting big men and Amrit Pal Singh, Satnam and Amjyot Singh will be the pups of the big men group: but both the two Punjabis are massive players with massive potential. They may not get to play too much, but watch out for them when they do step out on court.
We'll find out tomorrow what starting five and tactics that Natt unleashes against Sri Lanka.