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Pillay to lead new-look team for Azlan Shah hockey

January 02, 2004 16:31 IST
Last Updated: January 02, 2004 18:08 IST

With an eye on the Olympic qualifiers, the Indian Hockey Federation announced an 18-member experimental team for the prestigious Azlan Shah tournament, in Malaysia next week.

The team has only five old faces in Dhanraj Pillay, who will lead the side, former India captain Baljit Singh Dhillon, Ignace Tirkey, Vikram Pillay and Sandeep Michael.

Len Ayappa and Arjun Halappa, who were part of the Afro-Asian Games gold medal-winning team, also find a place in the side in the absence of several key players including Dilip Tirkey, Gagan Ajit Singh, Deepak Thakur, Viren Rasquinha, Devesh Chauhan and Prabhjot Singh.

As many as six players -- Adrain D'Souza, William Xalxo, Sandeep Singh, Hari Prasad, Girish Pimpale and Tushar Khandekar -- are from the junior squad which toured Poland in August 2003 and emerged triumphant in a six-nation junior tournament there.

IHF president K P S Gill told reporters the team would be trying out new combinations in the seven-nation tournament, starting January 8, in Kuala Lumpur.

"The experiments, to blend new faces and experience, would continue till some more time," Gill said while announcing the squad at the Gachibowli Hockey Stadium in Hyderabad.

"We will keep experimenting at least till the Holland Test series to be held here [in Hyderabad] in February and by that time a good combination will emerge."

India, who won the event thrice (1995, 1991 and 1985) had pulled out of the last edition after the government denied it permission to make the trip, due to the harassment of Indian IT professionals in Malaysia.

The team:

Goalkeepers: Kamaldeep Singh, Adrian D'Souza.

Full-backs: Harpal Singh, William Xalxo, Sandeep Singh.

Midfielders: Vikram Pillay, Igance Tirkey, Len Aiyappa, Prabhdeep Singh, V S Vinay, Girish Pimpale.

Forwards: Dhanraj Pillay, Baljit Singh Dhillon, Hari Prasad, Sandeep Michael, Tushar Khandekar, Arjun Halappa, Rajpal Singh.

Officials: Harinder Singh (coach), Clarence Lobo, Ramandeep Singh, A B Subbaiah, Dr Saju Joseph.

The fixtures (Malaysia time):

08 Jan 2004
116h05Korea vs Pakistan
218h05India vs Germany
320h05Malaysia vs Spain
09 Jan 2004
416h05Pakistan vs India
518h05Spain vs Australia
620h05Germany vs Malaysia
10 Jan 2004
718h05Australia vs Korea
11 Jan 2004
816h05Korea vs Germany
918h05Malaysia vs India
1020h05Pakistan vs Spain
12 Jan 2004
1118h05Malaysia vs Australia
1220h05Pakistan vs Germany
13 Jan 2004
1318h05Korea vs Spain
1420h05India vs Australia
14 Jan 2004
1516h05Spain vs Germany
1618h05Pakistan vs Malaysia
1720h05India vs Korea
15 Jan 2004
1818h05Australia vs Pakistan
16 Jan 2004
1916h05Spain vs India
2018h05Germany vs Australia
2120h05Malaysia vs Korea
17 Jan 2004
Rest Day
18 Jan 2004
2208h055-6th Classification Match
2315h353-4th Classification Match

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