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Don't expect miracles in Pak series, says hockey coach
September 22, 2004 17:54 IST
India's chief hockey coach Gerhard Rach says he's not expecting the team to perform "any miracles" on the tour of Pakistan, but is confident that his young side will rise to the occasion against the traditional rivals in the four-match series, starting in Karachi on Friday.
A new-look team is being fielded for the series, with most of the players having limited or no experience of playing at the highest level.
After the poor showing at the Athens Olympics, as many as five regulars -- Dhanraj Pillay, Baljit Singh Dhillon, Gagan Ajit Singh, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh – were not considered for selection for the Pakistan tour for various reasons.
In the absence of the star-studded forward line the onus of scoring rests on relatively inexperienced players.
Captain Dilip Tirkey, a veteran of three Olympics, has faith in the rookie strikers.
"Most of the players have done very well at the junior level. They were also part of the side that won the junior Asia Cup in Pakistan just a few months back. So no one should have any doubts about their abilities," Tirkey said.
He said the absence of some senior members has given the inexperienced players a chance to prove their mettle at the highest level and the management to prepare a team for the future.
"It's a good thing for them to play against Pakistan. It would be a very good exposure for them. This trip might just help them cement their place in the national team."
On the series, Tirkey said he expects the players to avoid the mistakes they made during their campaign in the Athens Olympics.
"There will be pressure on the young players since it is a big series. But I hope we all can cope up with it.
"We must try to avoid the mistakes we did in Athens and ensure that we don't blunder in trapping, ball control and in other areas," he added.
After the first match in Karachi on Friday, India will play the other games in Quetta (September 27), Peshawar (September 29) and Lahore October 1) before hosting the Pakistanis in the return leg at Delhi (Oct 4), Chandigarh (Oct 6), Amritsar (Oct 8) and Hyderabad (Oct 10).
Goalkeepers: Adrian D Souza, Devesh Chauhan.
Defenders: Dilip Tirkey, Sandeep Singh, Harpal Singh, William Xalxo.
Midfielders: Viren Rasquinha, Vikram Pillay, Ignace Tirkey, V S Vinay, Prabodh Tirkey, Vivek Gupta.
Forwards: Adam Sinclair, Arjun Halappa, Sandeep Michael, Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad, Girish Pimpale.