IHF announces team for Indo-Pak series

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/H/Hockeygen.jpg' class='caption'> The Indian hockey team for the Indo-Pak series which is starting on September 25 has been announced.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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Chandigarh :

Defender Dilip Tirkey would lead a 18-member new-look Indian hockey squad to Pakistan for a four-Test series against the arch-rivals, starting September 24. Announcing this today, Indian Hockey Federation president K P S Gill today said they had tried to have a right balance of youth and experience in the squad considering the forthcoming challenges. Gill insisted that the Federation was looking at the series as part of their team building process for the next year's Champions Trophy and hence he was not entertaining high expectations from it in Pakistan. "I don't expect extraordinary results this time. We are in the process of building a team for the Champions Trophy in July 2005 and the Junior World Cup. We are trying to put younger players," he said. Disastrous streak India had a disastrous campaign in the Athens Olympics finishing seventh and the Federation has made wholesome changes to the forward line following withdrawals and injuries. Adam Sinclair and Arjun Halappa, who went to Athens, will have the responsibility of leading the attack with Sandeep Michael, Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad and Girish Pimpale to support them in the absence of veterans Dhanraj Pillay, Baljeet Singh Dhillon, Gagan Ajit Singh and Deepak Thakur. Gill said Gagan Ajit Singh and Bimal Lakra had made themselves unavailable while Prabhjot Singh was out of form. He, however, said that Gagan and Lakra would be practicing with the junior national team and could be considered for the Indian leg of the series, which kicks off in the national capital on October 4. Concern on style The IHF president also rejected claims that European style of hockey was affecting Indian players performance and said that "there is no conflict in the style of hockey." Taking a dig at the former Hockey Olympians for writing against the game, Gill, without naming them, said that "don't take them seriously." Coach Gehrard Rach, who joined the team recently, said the main focus of the team was to earn more and more penalty corners in Pakistan. He also ruled out the need for a psychologist with the team. The Indian team would play the Tests in Karachi (Sep 24), Quetta (Sep 27), Peshawar (Sep 29) and Lahore (Oct 1) before hosting the neighbours in the four match return series from October 4-10 The opening tie of the return series will be played in New Delhi (Oct 4) followed by matches in Chandigarh (Oct 6), Amritsar (Oct 8) and Hyderabad (Oct 10). Team Goalkeepers - Adrian D Souza, Devesh Chauhan; Defenders - Dilip Tirkey, Sandeep Singh, Harpal Singh, William Xalxo; Midfielders - Viren Rasquinha, Vikram Pillay, Ignace Tirkey, V S Vinay, Prabodh Tirkey, Vivek Gupta; Forwards - Adam Sinclair, Arjun Halappa, Sandeep Michael, Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad, Girish Pimpale. Stand Bye - Bharat Chhetri, Raghunath, Samuel Nag, Birender Kalra and Inderjit Chaddha. (PTI)

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