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Rasquinha omitted from Asiad team

November 25, 2006 21:34 IST

Experienced midfielder Viren Rasquinha is a surprise omission from the 16-member Indian men's hockey team for the Doha Asian Games.

Young right-half Gurbaj Singh took Rasquina's place in the squad that will be led by veteran defender Dilip Tirkey.

Rasquinha's name, however, had figured in the squad put up on the official Doha Games web site two days ago.

Indian Hockey Federation secretary K Jothikumaran gave contradictory statements when asked about Rasquina being left out.

"A fitness test was conducted yesterday and the team was picked up by the selectors on that basis," the IHF secretary said.

He, however, denied that Rasquinha had any injury or fitness problem.

Rasquinha's absence could leave a big hole in the Indian midfield as Ignace Tirkey is the only other player in that area with enough international exposure.

V S Vinay is another midfielder who has been in the side for some time, but the onus will be on Ignace, who led India to 1-0 victory over Pakistan on their own soil earlier this year.

The team will depart for Doha from Delhi on Sunday morning.

India, placed in Pool B, will meet Bangladesh in their opening match on December 4. They will take on China (December 5), Oman (December 8) and Korea (December 10) in the league matches.

The team:

Goalkeepers: Bharat Kumar Chetri, Adrian D'Souza

Defenders: Dilip Tirkey, Harpal Singh, V Raghunath

Midfielders: Ajmer Singh, Ignace Tirkey, V S Vinay, Gurbaj Singh

Forwards: Arjun Halappa, Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad, Adam Sinclair, Rajpal Singh, Shivendra Singh, Tejbir Singh.

Chief Coach: V Bhaskaran, Coach: Harendra Singh, Physio: Ravi Kanakamedala, Manager: H S Dhillon.

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