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Thakur, Rasquinha for Commonwealth Games

Last updated on: February 28, 2006 20:45 IST

Experienced campaigners Deepak Thakur and Viren Rasquinha are back in the Indian squad for the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Melbourne from March 15 to 26.

Ace defender Dilip Tirkey, who is yet to recover from an ankle injury, and young custodian Adrian D'Souza don't figure in the 16-member team announced by the Indian Hockey Federation in New Delhi on Tuesday. Both opted out because of injuries.

Ignace Tirkey will lead the team, which leaves for Melbourne on March 5.

Tirkey, the 29-year-old dependable full back, who got married early this month, cited a nagging injury problem for pulling out of the 10-nation tournament, which commences in the Victorian capital on March 16.

D'Souza is nursing a hamstring injury, which he suffered during practice in the recently-concluded Pakistan leg of the bilateral series.

His place is taken by Chandigarh Dynamos' goalkeeper Baljit Singh.

Meanwhile, four players, who were part of the 20-member squad for the six-match series against Pakistan, were dropped. They are strikers Adam Sinclair, Hari Prasad, Shivinder Singh and drag flicker Raghunath.

The recall of Thakur and Rasquinha, who was rested for the Pakistan series, should boost the side that did reasonably well in the Pakistan leg of the just-concluded series.

Experts pointed out that this is the first time in a Pakistan series, which began in 1978, that India had won the Pakistan leg.

It is also the first time that India did not lose a single match in Pakistan.

In the final Test in Rawalpindi, India stunned the hosts with a blitz of three goals in eight minutes to draw the match after trailing 0-3.

India face Malaysia in their Games' opener, followed by matches against Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa.

The other pool include Olympic and Commonwealth champions Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada and Ireland.

India finished fourth in their only appearance in the Games' hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. They were not included for the 2002 Manchester Games.

Team:

Goalkeepers: Bharat Kumar Chetri, Baljit Singh.

Full-backs: Kanwalpreet Singh, Harpal Singh, Sandeep Singh.

Midfielders: Vikram Pillay, Ignace Tirkey, Prabodh Tirkey, Viren Rasquinha.

Forwards: Rajpal Singh, Didar Singh, Sardara Singh, Tushar Khandekar, Tejbir Singh, Arjun Halappa, Deepak Thakur.

Chief coach: Rajinder Singh.

Coach: Clarence Lobo.

Physical trainer: Sampath Kumar. Physio: Ravi Kanakamedala.

Manager: Umesh Kumar.