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Another feather in the cap of Dilip Tirkey (4/26/2009)
--K. Arumugam
Another feather in the cap of Dilip Tirkey

After certain epochal achievement whatever one does is bound to raise the bar. This is more than true in the case of living legend Dilip Tirkey. Take for instance his selection for the Asia Cup. His selection, especially after the way he played against Pakistan in the recent Azlan Shah Cup, should not be a surprise, but the achievement he would be making, is.

The world’s most capped player will now be making another milestone in his 15-year international career. He will be only Indian to play in four Asia Cups perhaps only Asian as well.

Dilip has been selected for the Kuantan Asia Cup, his fourth fory. Though Dilip had made somewhat late entry into the Asia Cup domain, he will achieve the unique record shortly. Dilip first played for India in 1995, two years after the Hiroshima Asia Cup. The next editions should have been held in 1997, but was staged only in 1999 where the defender made his Asia Cup entry. As a poetic justice, the two year lapse had been made out with the Asian Hockey Federation deciding to hold the event biannually after 2007.

Dilip figured in the gold winning teams of 2003 and 2007.

If India would win the Kuantan number – there are fair chances – that will give Dilip another feather in his over-crowded cap -- Hat-trick of Asia Cup gold.

With a bit of luck, Bimal Lakra would have matched Dilip’s Asia Cup record, but the three-time Asia Cupper is not in the reckoning nowadays.

Bimal also played Asia Cup non stop from 1999.

Two other Indians have the record of triple Asia Cup – Baljit Singh Dhillon and Dhanraj Pillay.

Dhanraj Pillay played his first Asia Cup in 1989, but missed out the next one due to his assignment in a foreign Club.

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Good luck DILIP !
by Prof. Randhawa on 4/27/2009 1:37:32 PM