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Changes temporary: Rajinder Sportsdesk | December 10, 2003 20:48 IST

India's chief hockey coach Rajinder Singh dismissed rumours about being dumped by the Indian Hockey Federation for the next month's Azlan Shah tournament, saying changes in the team are temporary and necessitated because of injuries to key players.

"I was told about the changes a couple of days back. The IHF had discussed the changes with me, so there is nothing new in it. It is just a temporary arrangement," he said, after the new list of probables for the tournament was announced in Bangalore on Wednesday.

The IHF dropped several leading players from the list of probables, including captain Dilip Tirkey, goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan, Gagan Ajit Singh, Deepak Thakur and Viren Rasquinha, and named junior coach Harinder Singh as Rajinder's replacement for the January 8 to 15 tournament in Kuala Lumpur.

"The move is intended at giving exposure to young players," said Rajinder, who will be accompanying the team as an observer.

He said one of the reasons for leaving out several regulars is because they had sustained injuries while playing in domestic tournaments.

"Deepak Thakur, Gagan Ajit Singh, Viren Rasquinha are all either ill or indisposed after a hectic outing in the Nehru Cup and Shastri tournament. So we don't want to take any chance by fielding these players ahead of the Olympic qualifiers," he said.

Under Rajinder the team won the Asia Cup and Afro-Asian Games gold medals this year.

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