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Dhanraj, Dhillon left out
April 01, 2004 17:58 IST
Former India captain and ace forward Dhanraj Pillay is not among the 22 probables named for two four-nation tournaments in Australia later this month.
The Indian Hockey Federation gave no reason for his exclusion.
"There is no reason for keeping Dhanraj out. We just felt that we should give a chance to some young players to prove their mettle before the Olympics," an IHF official said on Thursday.
Pillay, who missed the Olympic qualifier in Madrid last month under controversial circumstances, could still make it to the side for the Athens Games in August, the official added.
"It is a short camp, so not much should be read into Dhanraj's omission. He still could make to the side for the Olympics."
Also missing from the list are veteran striker Baljit Singh Dhillon, midfielder Baljit Singh Saini and forward Sandeep Michael. All the three were part of the team that finished fourth in the Olympic qualifier.
The twin tournaments are to be held in Canberra, from April 14 to 18, and Sydney, from April 21 to 25. The other nations in the fray are Australia, South Africa and Malaysia.
Several new faces figure in the list for the camp at Gurgaon, starting on Friday. They include Raju, Inderjit Chaddha, Ajitpal Singh, Sunil Yadav and Devender Pal Singh.
The team will have a new assistant coach in N S Sodhi, who replaced Baldev Singh after the team's return from Madrid.
Goalkeeping coach A B Subbaiah's services too haven not been retained.
An 18-member team will be picked for the twin tournaments after the camp.
Goalkeepers: Devesh Chauhan, Bharat Kumar Chetri, Kamaldeep Singh.
Full-backs: Dilip Tirkey, Kanwalpreet Singh, Harpal Singh, Sararbraj Singh.
Half-backs: Ignace Tirkey, Bimal Lakra, Vikram Pillay, Viren Rasquinha, Len Aiyappa.
Forwards: Gagan Ajit Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Arjun Halappa, Inderjit Chaddha, Deepak Thakur, Rajpal Singh, Raju, Ajit Pal Singh, Sunil Yadav, Devender Pal Singh.
The tournament fixtures:
April 14: Australia vs South Africa, Malaysia vs India.
April 15: Malaysia vs South Africa, Australia vs India.
April 17: South Africa vs India, Australia vs Malaysia.
April 18: Final.
April 21: Malaysia vs India, Australia vs South Africa.
April 22: Malaysia vs South Africa, Australia vs India.
April 24: Australia vs Malaysia, South Africa vs India.
April 25: Final