India to field new junior team for KL tournament


KUALA LUMPUR: Junior World Cup champions India will parade a new team in an international Under-19 invitational hockey tournament, which will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil here from Jan 5-9. 

They have only one player with international experience as they begin preparations to defend the title in 2005. 

None of the players from the team who won the title in Hobart last year is eligible to play in the next World Cup. 

The player with internatonal experience in the new side is skipper Prabhot Tirkey, who featured in the 2001 Junior Asia Cup and an international Under-16 invitational tournament in Ipoh last year. 

Chief coach Harinder Singh said yesterday: “The team’s first international was in August in a four-nation meet in Egypt.  

“The tournament in KL is basically the start of our long-term programme towards the 2005 Junior World Cup.” 

India won the tournament in Egypt, which also featured France and Pakistan. 

For the KL tournament, the foreign teams in the fray are India, Pakistan and South Korea.  

Hosts Malaysia will field two teams. 

“For the moment, we want to see how many of our players have the potential to go far. 

“This is not our final squad for the defence of the Junior World Cup. We will have more camps and there could be other players breaking through,’’ said Harinder. 

Earlier this month, the Indians shifted their centralised camp from New Delhi to Bangalore in the south because of the cold weather in the Indian capital.  

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