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Tirkey says he is fit
April 12, 2006 17:34 IST
Former captain Dilip Tirkey, whose inclusion in the Indian hockey squad for the upcoming tournament in Germany threatens to rake up a controversy, said he is fit and ready for the rigours of an international assignment.
Tirkey, who last appeared in the Premier Hockey league in January-February and had been nursing an ankle injury, said he has recovered and is ready for the big league once again.
"I have recovered now. I was called up as the other three main defenders -- William Xalxo, Kanwalpreet Singh and Harpal Singh are unfit," Tirkey said.
A section of the media has claimed that Tirkey was roped into the squad despite not being fully fit.
However, the ace defender said, "I will do whatever the team management wants me to do."
He comes in place of full-back Kanwalpreet Singh, who picked an injury during the camp at Gurgaon near on Monday.
Coach Bhaskaran, who will set off tonight for Monchelgladdach, the venue of the four-nation tournament in Germany, along with the team for his first international assignment, was furious when asked about Tirkey's fitness.
"How can you say that he is unfit?" he fumed.
IHF secretary K Jothikumaran also defended the decision to include Tirkey.
"William Xalxo was nursing an ankle injury and unfortunately Kanwalpreet Singh also got injured during the camp, so we called Dilip to know if he would be able to make it and he said yes," he said.
"The coach yesterday saw him practising and he is satisfied," he added.
He also said Tirkey is an experienced campaigner and could overcome the lack of match practice in no time.
"He is an experienced player so he can adjust quickly."
Asked whether there would be any change in leadership after Tirkey's return, Jothikumaran said there is no need for it.
"The captain has already been announced so there is no need for a change in captaincy for a four-nation tournament."
Forward Gagan Ajit Singh, who is currently playing in the Dutch league, will lead the Indian team in the April 15-17 tournament and will directly join in Germany.
In another development, army man Sunil Ekka has been inducted as a replacement for William Xalxo.
The Indian team will play three league games in Germany, where the champions will be decided on the league placing.