Indian hockey team on a recovery mission

Against the backdrop of failing to qualify for the Olympics, the Indian hockey men's team will set-off on a two-week tour to Australia on Saturday.

updated: May 01, 2008 13:59 IST
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Against the backdrop of failing to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 80 years, the Indian hockey men's team will set-off on a two-week tour to Perth and Darwin on Saturday to compete in a four-nation tournament involving China and Korea besides the hosts.

The four-nation double leg tournament, considered as a change for the Indian youngsters to wipe off their bad memories of failing to make the quadrennial event by losing to
Great Britain in the final of the Chile qualifiers, would help the team in its re-building efforts.

Chief coach, Joaquim Carvalho said that 'we are leaving here tomorrow for Australia without any pressure attached and we will put up a good show. It would be further creditable, if we win the tournament too'.

On whether he is mulling over any idea of India playing in Beijing Olympics in case of any qualified team withdrawing from it for security reasons like it happened in the 1984
Games in Los Angeles where Russia withdrew paving the way for Great Britain as a replacement, Carvalho 'I do not foresee any such things. I do not expect any of the 12 teams to withdraw first of all'.

Goal Keeper Adrian D'Souza of Indian Airlines and youngsters Samir Baxla, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Jaswinder Singh, S V Sunil and Birendra Lakra have been recalled to the
side in place of Chile Qualifier stars Bharath Kumar Chetri, Bimal Lakra, Ajitesh Roy, Roshan Minz and injured players Dilip Tirkey and Prabhodh Tirkey.

As for the team for the Australian tournament, Carvalho said 'we have inducted lot of youngsters. These youngsters will be rotated in matches Down Under in order to provide exposure to have a strong pool of players for 2010. We are going to give as much chances as possible to the new faces'.

'The team is good. We do not have anything to lose since being out of Olympics. We can try out various players. Nothing much should be read out of context irrespective of the
results. We are in the process of rebuilding the team. It does not mean that we are going there just to take part but we are determined to in matches and tournament,' he said.

'After failing to qualify for the Olympics, it is difficult for anything to come by but these boys are raring to go. There will be less pressure on these boys', he said.

At the same time, the tournament would be a dress rehearsal for the Australians to defend their gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in the tournament to be held from April 23 to May 4.

The Team:

GK Baljit Singh (IOC), Adiran D'Souza (Indian Airlines), Defenders: William Xalco (BPCL), V R Raghunath (IOC), Samir Baxla (Indian Airlines), Jaswinder Singh (IOC),

Mid-field: Gurbaz Singh (Air India), VS Vinaya (Indian Airlines), Sardara Singh (IOC), Vikram Kanth (IOC), Birendra Lakra (Indian Airlines), Ignace Tirkey (Ser),

Forwards: Rajpal Singh (IOC), SV Sunil (Ser), Gurwinder Singh Chandi (Pun), Tushar Khandekar (Capt-BPCL), Shivendra Singh (Railways) and Prabhjot Singh (IOC)

Support staff: Joaquim Carvalho (Chief Coach), MP Singh (Coach), Ramesh Parameswaran (Asst.Coach), RK Shetty (Manager), Srikanth Iyengar (Physio), MV Mathias (Trainer), Narendra Kumar (Video Analyst) and Dr Jaiprakash (Doctor).