India to field four teams

NEW DELHI: Two Indian senior teams and two Indian junior teams along with a team each from Pakistan and Malaysia are scheduled to participate in the Lal Bahadur Shastri hockey tournament to be held at the Shivaji Stadium here from October 1 to 8.

The tournament committee chairman, Kamal Chaudhry, said here on Wednesday that after the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) withdrew permission for all `A' grade tournaments in the country between September and December this year, a way out was found to keep the tournament going by agreeing to involve the India senior and junior teams. This was necessary since this happened to be the centenary year of the late Prime Minister.

"We had planned to invite around seven foreign teams and about 15 Indian teams for the tournament," said Mr. Chaudhry.

The IHF had ruled the stoppage of tournaments apparently in view of the Champions Trophy tournament to be held in Chennai in December. Mr. Chaudhry had no idea why the federation had resorted to such a step.

"This has been imposed on us," Mr. Chaudhry said while trying to explain his helplessness in inviting top-level teams of the country, as in the past.

The IHF will field four teams, namely India Senior `Red', India Senior `Blue', India Junior `Red' and India Junior `Blue.'

The senior probables are at the moment training here while the juniors are in a camp in nearby Gurgaon.

A six-member `spotters' panel will watch the India probables during the tournament. The panel members are: Ajitpal Singh, Gurbux Singh, Aslam Sher Khan, Surinder Singh Sodhi, B. P. Govinda and Sukhdev Singh.

The Malaysian team is expected to include two of the `India discards', Dhanraj Pillay and Len Aiyappa.

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