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Lucknow hockey camp from Sunday

July 19, 2003 17:45 IST

After spending five days in Barog, Himachal Pradesh, to recharge and relax, the 23 probables for the Champions Trophy hockey tournament assembled in Lucknow on Saturday for a 22-day preparatory camp which will begin on Sunday.

Skipper Dhanraj Pillay, who arrived along with other probables this afternoon, told newsmen that the five-day camp in Himachal Pradesh helped the team get closer and inculcate a "spirit of togetherness" in the team.

"The camp in Himachal did a world of good to all the members. Besides helping in making us stronger mentally and physically, the camp served a big deal in bringing us closer," Pillay said.

The Lucknow camp is being held to prepare the team for next month's Champions Trophy in Amstelveen, Holland, where India will open their campaign with a match against the hosts on August 16.

Pillay said he is confident of the team doing well in the elite six-nation tournament since all the players are working "very hard".

"The recent successes have boosted our morale to a great extent and we are confident of fulfilling what is expected from us.

"We are working hard to do away our shortcomings. We have been successful in minimising our errors in converting penalty-corners and we have four specialists now," the 35-year-old said.

"Besides our defence is the best in the world. We have Dilip Tirkey, Jugraj Singh and even other defenders are doing a fine job," Pillay added.

Earlier, the team was accorded a rousing reception on arrival at Charbagh railway station.

The training sessions will be held at the Sports College grounds.

The probables are staying at the guest house of official sponsors, Sahara.

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