AKASHDEEP SINGH: BACKGROUND
He was born on December 02, 1994, at Verowal, Khadur Sahib, in Tarn Taran district of Punjab. He plays in the forward line of the team. His elder brother Prabhdeep Singh also plays Hockey and has represented the country.
Akashdeep Singh initiated into the game at the school level itself when at the ‘Baba Gurmukh Singh Baba Uttam Singh’ Senior Secondary School, based at Khadur Sahib.
His passion in Hockey saw him take one leap after another as he moved from Guru Angad Dev Sports club to PAU hockey academy in Ludhiana in 2006 before joining the Surjit Hockey Academy in Jalandhar.
SELECTION TO INDIAN HOCKEY TEAM
Akashdeep was the captain of the Junior National team in 2011. He was a part of the team that played the Junior World Cup in Delhi, 2012. He made his senior team debut at the FIH Champions Trophy, Melbourne, 2012 in the match versus Britain. Such was the prodigious talent that he made his U-21 debut the year a year later after playing in the senior national team.
THE MIDFIELD-FORWARD STAR FOR INDIA HOCKEY
Early in his career Akashdeep won the Champions Trophy 2014 Young Player Award
The 2014 Asian Games Victory was a huge moment in his career as he scored the winning goal in the final at Incheon against Korea that also earned a spot for the Indian Hockey Team to the Olympics in Rio, 2016, as the Asian Games Champions.
He was a part of the Silver medal-winning team at Commonwealth Games 2014. As well the team that played the Hockey World League Final in 2015.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, He scored India’s solitary goal in its 1-2 defeat against Belgium in the Quarterfinals.
AKASHDEEP SINGH AT FIH HOCKEY WORLD LEAGUE
He was among the scorers for the country again at the prestigious International Hockey Federation’s FIH Hockey World League, scoring a goal in the Bronze medal match.
Global acknowledgment of his prowess in the game came in 2015 when Akashdeep was nominated for the Annual FIH Rising Star of the Year award.
In December 2017 in the Indian team’s quarter-final match against Belgium at the men’s Hockey World League Final played at Bhubaneswar, Akashdeep completed 150 International caps for India.
Hockey India had congratulated him on the occasion. Mohd. Mustaque Ahmad, secretary general, Hockey India had said, “Completing 150 matches is a big feat and I congratulate Akashdeep Singh for his efforts. He has been instrumental in India’s forward line and has often delivered in crunch matches. I wish he continues to remain a vital cog in the team’s attack and wish him the very best for his future endeavours.”
NEW ROLE AT ASIAN GAMES 2018
The Asian Games of 2018 gave a new direction to his career.
Just before the Asian games 2018, the then coach Harendra Singh placed Akashdeep as one who could link the flow of play from midfield to creating opportunities for the forwards. Ever since, besides being an adept forward player, he has taken on the mantle of Linkman for the team.
While talking to the PTI, Coach talked of his performance,: “He (Akashdeep) has very good peripheral vision and so we used him little down from his usual position as linkman. He is lethal as a linkman and we have three strikers floating inside the circle.
“If you go back 15 years, Dhanraj (Pillay) changed his role from the 2002 World Cup. He became a playmaker and Deepak (Thakur) and Prabhjot (Singh) scored. I am very happy with Akash. He is taking the lead. In every department we have a leader. I hope we continue that way throughout the tournament,” the visibly delighted coach added.
In pool match against Sri Lanka Akashdeep was in impeccable form as he alone pumped in six goals in India’s 20-0 rout of Sri Lanka.
Even as India lost in semi-finals to Malaysia and thus a chance to defend its gold in the previous edition he stepped up to score Country’s opening goal in just the third minute of the match against arch-rivals Pakistan. India eventually won that match and the bronze defeating Pakistan 2-1.
Being a facilitator, as a Linkman, is a slot in which he has excelled and becomes an irreplaceable player for the team. His agility to create scoring opportunities for other forwards in the team, the flair of dribbling past rival defenders, feeding the forwards with deft passes, and consistently putting his best foot forward in gunning for a shot at the goal. Akashdeep trails all that in his role in the team.
And his pace gives him an edge in facilitating scoring opportunities for the forwards who are floating in the rival circle. He is rightly called a lethal linkman and the forward has been one of the stalwarts in front of the goal. Just 24 years in age Akashdeep has played over 170 matches for the country, since making his debut in 2012.
So passionately involved does he get with the run of the play, his efforts in the flow of the match and the winning cause for the country that risked and saw suspension for two matches in challenging a goal versus the Netherlands that he stuck out against the decision of the umpires. It was in India’s 2-1 loss to the Netherlands at the quarterfinals of the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, 2018.
He scored a hat-trick in India’s match against Uzbekistan at the FIH’S series Finals in June 2019. That match won by India 10-0 took India to the semi-finals of the tournament.
In Akashdeep, India has a hockey player who as a forward is fluid in midfield and in gunning for the rival’s goalpost in possession of ball, he can run amok, with his pace & dribbling skills, ripping apart rival defenses with powerful crosses, feeding the other forwards waiting in wings to take a shot at the goal. He doesn’t stop with his deft passes but then backs up the forward line to pounce on the slightest scoring opportunity that exists in the thick of the action in the rivals circle.
A hockey player of such passion and talent has, consistently since his debut all at 18 years of age, helped tilt the Goal score in India’s favor. His efforts have been a key in many a famous Indian win and have yielded a rich haul of medals, for the Indian Men’s Hockey team, notably:
A bronze medal at the Junior Asia Cup held in Malaysia in 2011
Silver medal at the 2012 Asian Champions Trophy in Doha
Gold at the 2014 Asian Games in Korea
Silver at 2014 Commonwealth games held in Glasgow
Bronze medal at 2014-15 Hockey World League in Raipur, India
Silver at the 2016 Champions Trophy London
Gold at the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy held in Kuantan
Bronze at 2016-17 Hockey World League in Bhubneshwar, India
Gold at Asia Cup in Dhaka, 2017.
Bronze at 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta
Gold medal at the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, held in Muscat, where he was also awarded the player of the tournament award.
For his fetes, Akashdeep Singh was bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna Award in Aug 2020