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Champions Trophy camp gets underway

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November 11, 2005 20:12 IST

India hockey coach Rajinder Singh (Jr) said the team for upcoming Sahara Champions Trophy would be "strictly picked" on the basis of players' form and fitness.

"The selection will be strictly on the performance of the players at the camp," Rajinder Singh told reporters after officially launching the probables' camp at the Radhakrishnan stadium in Chennai on Friday.

"Olympians are in the selection committee and, with my inputs, the final team for the Champions Trophy will be picked strictly on the basis of fitness and performance at the present camp, which will last till November 22," he said.

On the composition of the team, he said, "It will be a mixture of youth and experience. This combination will bring success.

"There is no politics in the team. The players have been gelling well from the Delhi camp and also in Hyderabad."

Talking about the team's chances, he said, "All the five teams are tough rivals and we will focus on each match. The thrust in the camp will be on physical training and technical work."

The Indian team has been losing to Pakistan in medal-deciding matches and it was more because of mistakes by individual players, he added.

Besides India, the other teams in the December 10 – 18 tournament are Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Pakistan.

Pinning hope on Sandeep Michael for his capabilities as the best drag flick expert in the team, Rajinder said, "We will try some new variations. His conversion rate has been good and the ratio of success has also been excellent."

He said barring six players -- Dilip Tirkey, V S Vinay, V Raja, Gagan Ajit Singh, Nitin Kumar and Sandeep Singh, who are presently playing in the European League and the Tirkey brothers (Ignace and Prabodh), the remaining 17 reported for the camp on Friday.

Ignace and Prabodh, who could not join the camp due to death of their brother's wife, are expected to be present by Monday.

Indian Hockey Federation secretary K Jyothikumaran said, "The final team will have to be decided 14 days before the tournament, as per FIH rules.

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