Orissa trio in World Cup squad of 22

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/H/Hockeyindia.jpg' class='caption'> Indian defenders Dilip Tirkey and Lazarus Barla among the three players from Orissa to have made it to the Indian squad for the Hockey World Cup in Malaysia.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Indian defenders Dilip Tirkey and Lazarus Barla who were part of the Indian Olympic and World Cup teams are among the three players from Orissa to have made it to the Indian squad for the Hockey World Cup starting in Malaysia in March this year. The third player, 17-year old mid-fielder Ignesius Tirkey had a role to play in India winning the world Junior Hockey championship only recently. Dilip Tirkey who forms the back bone of India's defence is getting ready to take part in his second World Cup. His teammate is Lazarus Barla who is also from Orissa. And along with Ignesius Tirkey, the trio have made sure their state will have plenty of representation in the 22-member team for the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur this month. "In 1998 there were just two of us in the team. Now there are three, it is a very proud moment for Orissa and hopefully we can have even more players in the near future," said Lazarus. Ignesius Tirkey may not make it to the final team despite having been a star in India's junior World Cup win in Australia last year but the general feeling is that the mix of experience and youth will do wonders. "In all the major tournaments, be it Olympics or World Cup, we had lost despite playing well. This time the juniors are in great spirits after the World Cup and there are six to seven experienced players also. The mix of experience and enthusiasm will give us a good team," said Dilip Tirkey. The Indian team is coming off a month's camp in Chennai where one of the aspects they worked on was penalty corner conversion. "We have improved. Now our average in converting penalty corners is 40 to 50 per cent. The effort is to at least achieve 80 per cent. We have just received training in Chennai and we hope we will be able to reach that target," said Lazarus. Whatever India's final result in the tournament, as far as talent in hockey is concerned Orissa at present doesn't have a dearth of it.

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