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No rift in the team, says Pillay

August 24, 2004 22:15 IST

As alleged differences between Indian hockey players and the coach threaten to snowball into a major controversy, veteran player Dhanraj Pillay stepped in to scotch speculation about divisions in the team.

The 36-year-old four-time Olympian claimed all is well within the team.

"There is no trouble in the team. We are all focussed to do well in the remaining matches. Yes, we have not played very well in the tournament but it is not because of any rift," said Pillay.

The player, who finds himself at the centre controversy following his critical comments on coach Gerhard Rach in his newspaper column, said that he has utmost respect for the coach.

"I have a lot of respect for Rach. I also get along well with Gagan Ajit Singh. Reports that I don't get along well with him are not true. I may say some things during a match, but it cannot be interpreted in this way," he explained.

Pillay fervently pleaded with the Indian media covering the Olympic Games not to speculate or write anything that could be detrimental to team spirit.

"I request the media not to speculate unnecessarily. You should encourage the team. There is no dissent in the team. All of us are getting along very well," he said.

He said the forwards had missed too many chances and the tendency to concede last-minute goals hampered India's chances of an Olympic medal.

"Yes, I do admit that the forwards have missed a lot of chances. The defence has not been up to the mark. We are now looking forward to the remaining matches and, hopefully, we can put up a better show. We all trying our best," he said.

Complete coverage of India's campaign | Athens 2004

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