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Pak withdraws from three-nation hockey tournament

india Updated: Jan 14, 2008 14:36 IST

PTI
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Pakistan has withdrawn from the proposed three-nation hockey tournament involving Belgium and India to be held in Bangalore from January 22.

Stating this, India's Chief National Coach Joaquim Carvalho said the tournament would now be played as a five-Test series between Belgium and India.

"Pakistan has pulled out of the tournament and the Indian Hockey Federation has now scheduled the five-Test series, which would be played on January 25, 27, 28, 30 and 31 in Chennai," he told PTI.

The tournament was proposed to provide Indian players vital match practice ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers. On preparation of team for the Qualifers in Chile from March 1 to 9, Carvalho said, "the national team is always on the job of achieving their goal. Our immediate goal is to gain the berth for the Beijing Olympics and then try to be successful in the Games."

"Needless to say that the probables are always on the job of gaining the berth and the players have been training since the Asia Cup win," he said. "The players are raring to go and in excellent mood. They are still rejoicing over the recognition that they received after there Asia Cup win. No stone will be left unturned and the team will return home in flying colours," Carvalho asserted.

Carvalho said they did not want to rest on their laurels and only skilful and committed players would fit in to his scheme of things.

"We know the uphill task ahead and therefore the boys are shown the video clippings of matches involving England and measures taken to win over them for earning the Olympic berth.

"All matches that England played in the Champions Challenge and Champions Trophy are being shown to the players and their views of tackling tight situations are ascertained before we teach them remedial measures, both theoretically and practically. We are doing this since England is the toughest team in the fray against us in the Chile Qualifier tournament," Carvalho said.

As for the ongoing camp for the Test series against Belgium, Carvalho said, "We are adhering to the strategies and involve the players in set-piece situations."

The team will be visit Western Australia for a couple of practice matches after the Test series and return to India before leaving for Chile.