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India-Malaysia hockey series

July 21, 2005 21:04 IST

India will host Malaysia in September in a five-Test hockey series, the Indian Hockey Federation said on Thursday.

"Of these five Tests, two matches will be against the Indian junior team that finished fourth in the recent junior World Cup," IHF president K P S Gill told reporters in Delhi.

The IHF also gave details of long term planning for the 2009 Under-21 World Cup.

"We will scout for talent all round the country and by August-September will announce a pool of 150 players. We have also got SAI's (Sports Authority of India) support to work with the youngsters right from the beginning," Gill said.

He also said the juniors will make a short exposure trip abroad before taking on the Malaysians.

The IHF also disclosed that Hyderabad will host the Under-16 Asia Cup in September and Rourkela the Under-18 Asia Cup, tentatively from November 20-27. In both events, India are the defending champions.

To celebrate the birth centenary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, the IHF will organise a match here between the Indian junior team and the senior team, selected for the Amstelveen tournament.

Asked about the IHF's search for a foreign coach, Gill said India's performance in the recent Junior World Cup has forced them to have a rethink.

"I don't think our team [coached by Harender Singh] lacked in any department compared to teams coached by renowned foreigners. It makes us think why to invest so much in getting the services of a foreigner," Gill said.

On what made the IHF revoke the ban on star striker Gagan Ajit Singh and Kanwalpreet Singh, Gill said both players had expressed regret.

"Both of them regretted their mistakes. Also the state associations supported their case," he said.

Asked about some surprise inclusions in the probables' list, Gill said some of the youngsters had been included only for the purpose of getting them familiarised.

"Today we have added one more player to the camp, Gursewak Singh of Railways, who is a drag flicker."

Gill said since Jugraj Singh's unfortunate accident, India is still struggling to find a drag-flicker of his calibre.

"We really had a tough time till Sandeep Singh came up. We want to groom at least 3-4 drag flickers," he added.

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