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India can win Champions Trophy
14 Oct 2005 07:45

rediff.com: Controversy-prone Dhanraj Pillay says India can win the prestigious Champions Trophy hockey tournament at home later this year if the team plays to potential and works on fitness.

"We are not short on talent and if we play to our potential we can certainly win the Champions Trophy," said the four-time Olympian, whose international career is still under intense speculation.

"The team should work hard on its fitness now as only two months are remaining (for the event). Players should also try to avoid any kind of injury," Pillay said.

The six-nation Champions Trophy will be played in Chennai, from December 8-18.

Asked about the performance of the team in recent times, the ace forward said it could not be called very good, but at the same time, it was not very disappointing either.

"The team has not done anything that cannot be sorted out; the mistakes can be rectified."

Pillay, who was unceremoniously dropped from the team after the Athens Olympics last year, refused to comment on whether he still hopes to make a comeback to the national side.

But his stint in Malaysia, where he plays in the domestic league, proves he is fit and in fine form.

"I have scored 16 goals for Telekom Malaysia. This team is very good and I enjoy playing there. I have a break till November and I will train in my academy during this period."

Pillay also said it is a good sign that more and more Indian players are going abroad to play in foreign leagues.

"Dilip Tirkey and some others are playing in the Dutch league. Len Aiyappa and myself are playing in Malyasia. This is a good sign for Indian hockey that we are getting a chance to play abroad."

He also praised the women's hockey team and said they deserve an opportunity to play in international events more often.

The Indian eves finished runners-up behind Australia in the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup hockey tournament, which concluded in Delhi on Saturday.

The men's Champions Trophy features five of the top six teams from the Athens Olympics -- Australia, Holland, Germany, Spain and Pakistan -- besides hosts India.

New Zealand, which finished sixth in the last edition of the tournament in Lahore, have been replaced by Olympic champions Australia, who did not play in the Lahore tournament last December because of security concerns.

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