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Tirkey to lead for Azlan Shah hockey
May 25, 2006 20:48 IST
Medios Viren Rasquinha, V S Vinaya and defender Kanwalpreet Singh have been recalled, while experienced forwards Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh do not find place in the Dilip Tirkey-led Indian team for the Azlan Shah hockey tournament, in Malaysia from May 18 to 25.
"We are in the process of preparing for the World Cup in September ... Azlan Shah tournament is very important in our scheme of things," Indian Hockey Federation president K P S Gill told reporters in Chennai on Thursday, while announcing the team.
The 18-member team, led by Tirkey includes eight players from Indian Airlines, two each from Punjab, Namdhari, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil Corporation, besides Bharat Kumar Chetri and Shivender Singh from Karnataka and Railways respectively.
Goalkeepers: Adiran D'Souza and Bharat Kumar Chetri.
Defenders: Dilip Tirkey (capt), Kanwalpreet Singh and Sandeep Singh.
Midfielders: Vinaya V S, Vikram Pillay, Prabodh Tirkey, Bimal Lakra, Viren Rasquinha and Ajmer Singh.
Forwards: Arjun Halappa, Hari Prasad, Tejbir Singh, Tushar Khandekar, Shivender Singh, Rajpal Singh and Gagan Ajit Singh.
On the axing of Indian Oil stars Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh, Gill said, "I would not like to discuss this. Generally speaking these two players were given chance after chance and they have not performed up to the mark."
On developing a strong second string team, Gill said, "Some of the boys who have not been selected along with the boys who are going to Poland for the under-21 tournament, besides those who will not be eligible to play at junior levels by 2009, will form the nucleus for a future team.
"We have a lot of talented players and we should be able to form a strong second string team."
The Indian team will play three practice matches (June 13, 15 and 16) against New Zealand before taking on Australia in their inaugural tie in the Azlan Shah tournament on June 18, Gill said.
"New Zealand is in the other group. We have not played them for a long time and playing them prior to the tournament will be a good start for the tournament proper.
"The Kiwis are tough players... we have played against almost all other rivals in the Azlan Shah tournament," he added.
Talking about full back William Xalxo, Gill said he hasn't found a place in the team announced today, "but we will probably be having him in the developmental side".
Bhaskaran said, "The boys have learnt a lot during the two camps from former Olympians Ajit Pal Singh, B P Govinda and Harmik Singh, who have been here for three days. The body language of the players has been excellent and I have been given a good team of 18 players with whom I am confident of finishing on the podium."
The 18 selected will have a five-day break before regrouping for the final camp, starting June 3 in Chennai.
"The team is likely to leave for Kuala Lumpur on June 10 or 11," Bhaskaran added.
Schedule of the Azlan Shah tournament:
June 18: Argentina vs New Zealand (8.30 am), Australia vs India (3.00 pm), South Korea vs Malaysia (5.00 pm).
June 19: Holland vs Pakistan (8.30 am), South Korea vs Australia (3.00 pm), India vs Malaysia (5.00 pm).
June 20: Holland vs Argentina (3.00 pm), Pakistan vs New Zealand (5.00 pm).
June 21: India vs South Korea (3.00 pm), Australia vs Malaysia (5.00 pm).
June 22: Pakistan vs Argentina (3.00 pm), Holland vs New Zealand (5.00 pm).
June 23: 1st semi-final (3.00 pm), 2nd semi-final (5.00 pm).
June 24: Placing (7/8) play-off match (7.30am), 5th/6th match (9.30 am).
June 25: Placings match for third place (3.00 pm) and Final (5.00 pm).