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Gagan's place in team not guaranteed: coach
July 19, 2005 21:43 IST
Gagan Ajit Singh's selection as a probable for next month's eight-nation tournament in Holland does not guarantee him a place in the final team, India's hockey coach Rajinder Singh Jr declared on Tuesday.
Gagan fell out the selectors' favour after the Athens Olympics in August last year. A three-month ban, slapped on him for hitting a rival player during the nationals in Hyderabad in March, also put a question mark over the future of the Punjab Police striker.
His selection as a probable may have moved him a step closer to the national team, but the coach affirmed that he would have to "perform" in the camp to get the final nod.
"It's a good thing that he is back in the camp. But the camp will determine which player is selected for the Holland tournament," Rajinder said over phone from Chandigarh, where the training camp commences on Wednesday.
"One has to perform well in the camp for getting a place in the team and mere reputation won't help," he added.
Rajinder said the absence of several players, who did duty in the junior World Cup in Holland, will not have a bearing on the team's performance in the eight-nation tournament.
"I have been given a pool of probables by the selectors. I am not worried about who is there and who is not there. I will try to get the best result out of the players," he said.
Rajinder said in the absence of an expert drag-flicker, with both Sandeep Singh and Len Aiyappa missing out, he would try out new players in the camp to perfect the art of converting penalty-corners.
"We have identified two-three players. Deedar Singh and Raghunath are likely to do the role in the tournament if they are selected."
"We have to think beyond Sandeep Singh and Len Aiyappa. We need a back up who can do the job. What if Sandeep gets injured? We had to start the process somewhere some day, so the camp will be the place where we will try some as penalty-corner experts," he said.