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Full-strength Indian team for Holland series

January 28, 2004 18:41 IST

With the experiment of fielding newcomers for the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament proving disastrous, the Indian Hockey Federation indicated on Wednesday that a full-strength team will be pitted for the three-Test series against Olympic champions The Netherlands, beginning in Hyderabad on February 5.

"This is a very important series for us in the context of preparations for the Athens Olympics. Hence, the best players, who are fit, will play," IHF president K P S Gill said at a press conference in Delhi to announce that the series would be called 'Naval Tata Memorial Hockey'.

The team for the series, which ends with the last match on February 8, would be announced on Sunday, he added.

Asked about the absence of some senior players from the preparatory camp, being held in Gurgoan, Gill said Dilip Tirkey and Baljit Singh Dhillon will be joining the camp very soon while Dhanraj Pillay is still undergoing treatment for the injury he sustained during the Azlan Shah tournament in Kuala Lumpur early this month.

The Test series has been named after ex-Director of Tata Sons and former IHF president Naval Tata to commemorate his birth centenary, Tata Sports Club secretary Milind Rege said.

Holland, which will be playing a one-on-one Test series in India after over 26 years, is also according great importance to their trip and sending its best side, according to Gill.

Both teams are vying for berths in the Athens Olympics and Gill said the Dutch are considering the series as an important tune-up for the qualifiers, to be held in March in Madrid.

The Dutch, who are the defending Olympic Champions, have to qualify for the four-yearly event due to the new eligibility rule according to which only the continental champions are entitled to a direct berth in the Games.

Germany are currently the European Champions while India lost to South Korea in the Busan Asian Games 2002 and missed out on a direct entry.

The IHF also released the Dutch team for the series.

Holland squad: Ronald Brouwer, Matthijs Brouwer, Jeroen Delmee, Geert Jan Derikx, Rob Derikx, Floris Evers, Piet Hein Geeris, Erik Jazet, Karel Klaver, Jan Jorn Land, Bram Lomans, Nick Meijer, Teun Nooijer, Rob Reckers, Taeke Taekema, Klaas Veering, Guus Vogels, Sander Weide, Egbert Ho, Kristiaan Timman, Roderick Weusthof.

Coach: Terry Walsh.

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