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No question of taking Pillay back: Gill
November 10, 2004 17:12 IST
Ace hockey forward Gagan Ajit Singh's return to the national team for the Champions Trophy appears unlikely with the Indian Hockey Federation saying the team that played against Pakistan in the recent Friendship Series will be retained.
IHF president K P S Gill said the young team, which fetched "unexpected" results against Pakistan, will be retained for the prestigious six-nation event, beginning in Pakistan next month.
"Gagan was not there in the team that played against Pakistan," Gill told reporters, when asked specifically if the forward's career is effectively over.
The Punjab player was not picked for the eight-match Test series against Pakistan in October despite reporting fit, thus fuelling speculation of a fall-out with the IHF during the Olympic Games.
The IHF chief also declared that there is no place in the team for veterans Dhanraj Pillay and Baljit Singh Dhillon.
"There is no question of taking Pillay back into the team. I don't think Baljeet has a chance either," Gill said.
"The young boys have a lot of potential. They play as a team, which is important.
"This team is very committed. I think after many years players are united and wanting to do well," he added.
Admitting that the team still has many weaknesses, Gill said, "Our penalty-corner conversions in the Olympics and defence against Pakistan in the last series was good.
"Our players miss a large number of goal-scoring opportunities."
He said German coach Oliver Kurtz, who was with the Indian team for the Olympics, will join the team soon.
"Penalty-conversion specialist Oliver Kurtz would soon join the team here to train the players."
Asked about the team's tendency to concede last-minute goals, he said the coaches are working on it and the team should get into the winning groove within the next six to eight months.
He brushed aside a suggestion that the IHF should appoint a psychologist on the lines of the cricket team.
"It's not a question of appointing anyone," he said.
Pressed further, he added, "That's why they (cricketers) start losing from day one."
Gill also said Deepak Thakur will not be considered for forthcoming international tournaments as he has been advised rest by doctors for six months.
Thakur sustained an injury during the Athens Olympics and has been on the sidelines since.