India include injured Bhutia
© AFP

Baichung Bhutia has been named captain of the 23-member Indian squad for next month's AFC Asian Cup in Doha despite struggling with a calf injury.

Bhutia, 35, has yet to recover from a calf muscle injury in his right leg sustained during the squad's ongoing training camp in Dubai ahead of the continent's showpiece football event. India have been drawn alongside Korea Republic, Bahrain and Australia in a tough Group C from where two teams will advance to the knock-out rounds of the 7-29 January tournament in the Qatari capital.

Bhutia himself was uncertain of playing the first match against Australia on 10 January. "My chances of making the starting line-up in the opener against Australia is 50-50," Bhutia told the Kolkata-based Telegraph newspaper from Dubai. "Still, I have a different role to play for the national team in this tournament. I am seeing my doctor in the next couple of days and would try my best to make a comeback before the start."

Bhutia, who these days plays his club football for the East Bengal Club, became the country's first footballer to play at the professional level in Europe when he signed up for English club Bury FC in 1999.

India squad

Goalkeepers: Subrata Paul, Subhasis Roy Chowdhury, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Defenders: Surkumar Singh, Gaurmangi Singh, Anwar Ali, Mahesh Gawli, Deepak Mondal, N.S. Manju, Rakesh Masih, Syed Rahim Nabi, Govin Singh.

Midfielders: Steven Dias, N.P. Pradeep, Climax Lawrence, Clifford Miranda, Rennedy Singh, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Baldeep Singh.

Forwards: Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chetri, Abhishek Yadav, Sushil Singh.