Pakistan withdraws from three-nation hockey tourney:Carvalho

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Bangalore, Jan 14(UNI) Pakistan has withdrawn from the proposed three-nation hockey tournament scheduled to be held in Chennai with Belgium and India being the other two countries.

National Chief Coach Joaquim Carvalho told UNI that India and Belgium would now play a five-test series from January 25. Earlier the tournament was scheduled to begin on January 22.

He said that according to communication received from the Indian Hockey Federation "Pakistan has pulled out of the tournament and five test series have been arranged between India and Belgium".

The tournament was aimed at giving more match practice by involving foreign teams before the Olympic qualifiers begins in March.

A nine-day camp began at Sports Authority of India (SAI) Southern Centre, in the ourskirts of the City on January 10.

This will be a short duration camp. But players would get good exposure by playing matches in and abroad before Olympic Qualifiers begins in Chile from March One.

"Boys after PHL are in good shape and I am confident of the team qualifying for the Bejing Olympics. Our Boys are in good shape since Asia Cup which they retained and from then on they are maintaining their tempo and it was proved in the recently concluded PHL," he added.

Carvalho said that "the players are raring to go and in excellent mood. They are still rejoicing over the recognition that they received after their Asia Cup win. No stone will be left unturned and the team will return home in flying colours." 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 tour Western Australia for a couple of practice matches after the Test series and return to India before leaving for Chile.

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