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Gagan Ajit returns for Dutch tourney

August 01, 2005 12:56 IST

Ace forward Gagan Ajit Singh returned to the national squad after a gap of almost a year as the Indian Hockey Federation announced an 18-member team for the upcoming eight-nation tournament in Holland.

Gagan, who was out of favour following India's disastrous show in the Athens Olympics, was also suspended for three months for unruly conduct during the men's Nationals in Hyderabad in March.

Like Gagan, his state mate Kanwalpreet Singh also made a comeback after being dropped after the Olympics in August last year.

Kanwalpreet was also banned for two years after being found guilty of hitting Deepak Thakur with his hockey stick during the Ranjit Singh hockey tournament in February. But his ban was revoked last month by the IHF.

Gagan and Kanwalpreet's return is likely to give a boost to the Indians, who will play the August 14-21 event with an under-strength side after IHF decided against considering any member of the junior World Cup team, barring Prabhdeep Singh, for the tournament.

Prabhdeep, who did not play a single match in the World Cup, where the Indian colts finished fourth, got a place in the senior team.

Also returning to the fold is dependable mid-fielder Viren Rasquinha, who missed out on playing in the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia earlier this year due to an injury.

Addressing a press conference here, IHF President K P S Gill said Dilip Tirkey has been retained as the captain.

The team was picked from 28 probables who are undergoing training in Chandigarh since July 20.

The tournament, a warm-up for this year's Champions Trophy in Chennai, has arch-rivals India and Pakistan in the same pool.

The Asian giants share Pool A with European powerhouses Germany, the World champions, and Spain, the Champions Trophy winners.

Olympic champions Australia are in Pool B with hosts Holland, Asian Games champions Korea and England.

The team:

Dilip Tirkey (capt), Devesh Chauhan, Bharat Chetri, Kanwalpreet Singh, Harpal Singh, Viren Rasquina, Ignace Tirkey, Arjun Hallapa, Bimal Lakra, Jaswinder Singh, Prabhdeep Singh, Gagan Ajit Singh, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh, Rajpal Singh, Ravipal Singh, Didar Singh, Devinderpal Singh.


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