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No change in team for Indian leg

October 03, 2004 19:28 IST

Reposing its faith in players who toured Pakistan for four Test matches, Indian Hockey Federation on Sunday named an unchanged 18-member squad for the second leg of the Friendship Series starting in New Delhi on Monday.

"The series in India is quite short and it will be over within a week. So the 18-member team will be for all the Tests to be played in India. A change will only take place if a player suffers any serious injury," IHF President K P S Gill told reporters in New Delhi.

Expressing satisfaction over the team's performance in Pakistan, where it lost two matches and won one besides a draw, Gill said the side has shown significant improvement since their return from Athens Olympics.

"There has been significant improvement in the performance of the team," he said.

Team: Dilip Tirkey (capt), Devesh Chauhan, Adrian D'Souza, Harpal Singh, Sandeep Singh, William Xalxo, Viren Rasquinha, Vikram Pillay, Ignace Tirkey, V S Vinay, Prabodh Tirkey, Vivek Gupta, Adam Sinclair, Arjun Halappa, Sandeep Michael, Tushar Khandekar, Girish Pimpale, Hari Prasad.

Despite the success of the series, which was revived after a gap of five years, Gill was non-committal whether it would be an annual affair.

"Although the series does not consume much time, it will be decided after taking into consideration various factors. We have also to see the international hockey calendar," he said.

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Gill also spoke about the team's future engagements, which included a six-nation tournament to be held in India next year.

"The tournament will be held after National Hockey League in January. It will include the top six countries of the world," he said.

"We have also the junior World Cup next year and the junior and senior nationals after this series. Such bilateral series and tournaments would help the team prepare for the next Olympics in 2008."

On the possibility of India's participation in this year's Champions Trophy if Australia or any other team pulls out citing security reasons, the IHF chief said, "we don't think we would be participating since tomorrow is the last date for withdrawal from the event and till today we don't have any information that any team has withdrawn."

Gill informed that Monday's match between the arch-rivals at the National Stadium would be shown live on both Doordarshan and ESPN from 1330 IST onwards.

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