India and Pakistan are no longer the dominant force, which they used to be, dazzling hockey fans all over the world with their wizardry. The game has come a long way now, with nations like Germany, Australia and the Netherlands eclipsing the top position in world hockey. However, the rivalry between India and Pakistan still remains the same as it was some years ago.
India and Pakistan are set for a huge encounter in Ipoh, Malaysia during the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Tuesday. Hockey fans all over the world watch the game with great interest.
India, who have qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics, are using the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as perfect preparation for the mega event. But when it comes to such clashes, anything less than a victory is a disappointing result for India. No matter who are playing on the field, they are expected to give it their all in the four quarters.
India might have defeated Canada and Japan in the competition, but their performances have not been top-class. Sardar Singh and his men need to play better hockey to defeat Pakistan. They lost against Australia, 5-1, which showed their weak defence. India needs to be careful, and not make those silly turnovers, which could be disastrous.
Pakistan, after their good start in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, defeating Canada 3-1, played some wonderful hockey, but lost to New Zealand and Australia in their last two encounters.
New Zealand and Australia players, who love playing attacking brand of hockey, with their pacy players, have exploited Pakistan's defence. What looks embarrassing for Pakistan is that they have conceded 10 goals in the competition.
Pakistan need their defensive players to stand up and deliver against India, who also have some swift players like SV Sunil and Ramandeep, who use their hockey sticks as a wand to get past the defenders.
With Pakistan in second last position in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, this match is of prime importance to them as a loss will make it tough for them to move up the table.
Team news: India: Harjot Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh Jasjit Singh Kular, Kothajit Singh, Surender Singh, Chinglensena Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sardar Singh (c), SK Uthappa, Mandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Talwinder Singh, Akash Anil Chikte, Danish Mujtaba, Harjeet Singh
Pakistan: Imran Butt, Muhammad Irfan (c), Muhammad Imran, Syed Kashif Shah, Fareed Ahmed, Muhammad Rizwan junior, Rashid Mahmood, Muhammad Waqas Sharif, Shafqat Rasool, Muhammad Umar Bhutta, Muhammad Dilber, Muhammad Rizwan Senior, Muhammad Azfar Yaqoob, Mazhar Abbas,Muhammad Toseeq Arshad, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Muhammad Kashif Ali, Ali Shan
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: India vs Pakistan schedule
Date: April 12
Time: 3:35 p.m. IST
Venue: Azlan Shah Stadium
TV listings: India â€“ Star Sports 1/HD and Star Sports 3/HD