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Pillay, Dhillon to get call-up
May 23, 2004 19:12 IST
Mercurial forward Dhanraj Pillay is almost certain to figure in the list of 26 Olympic probables, to be announced by the Indian Hockey Federation in Delhi on Monday.
Pillay, whose omission from the fitness camp at Barog, Himachal Pradesh, and a four-nation tournament in Japan created a stir, has been short-listed alongside veteran forward Baljit Singh Dhillon, highly-placed sources in the IHF said.
Besides the two former India captains, penalty-corner expert Jugraj Singh, who is back after a near-fatal car accident, is also likely to be included in the list.
Senior defender Baljit Singh Saini though is unlikely to be called up.
The list could include three goalkeepers in Devesh Chauhan, Kamaldeep Singh and Adrian D'Souza, who had a fine outing in India's title triumph in the junior Asia Cup in Pakistan last month.
The regular full-back combination of Dilip Tirkey and Kanwalpreet Singh is unlikely to be disturbed even though Sandeep Singh, the promising drag-flicker from Haryana, could make the list for his recent exploits on the field.
Sandeep's presence would serve the side in more than one way, since besides being a defender, the teenager is a quality penalty-corner specialist.
Young Orissa player William Xalxo, who earned a lot of praise from chief coach Rajinder Singh for his performance in the Japan tournament, and Harpal Singh are also likely to figure in the list.
No surprises are expected in the midfield as regulars Viren Rasquinha, Vikram Pillay, Ignace Tirkey and Bimal Lakra are difficult to ignore. The famed foursome could have Vivek Gupta for company as a probable.
Pillay, Dhillon, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh and Gagan Ajit Singh should make up the striking line.
Sandeep Michael, who did a good job as captain of the junior Asia Cup-winning team, and the talented Tushar Khandekar are likely to join their illustrated seniors in the list.
As a build-up to the mega-event in August, the players will undergo extensive training at a reputed institute in the United States before going to Holland for a four-nation tournament, featuring Pakistan, Holland and Germany and India next month.
The next destination for the players is Germany, where, besides undergoing training at Cologne, the team will play another four-nation tournament involving the hosts, Great Britain and France.