Manpreet Singh and Sardar Singh
File photo of captain Manpreet Singh and Sardar SinghIan MacNicol/Getty images

The 10th edition of Hockey Asia Cup will begin at Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday, October 11 with India taking on Japan and Pakistan facing hosts Bangladesh on the opening day.

The eight-team tournament will serve as a platform for 2018 World Cup as the winner will directly qualify for the marquee event, which will be held from November 24 in India.

Two-time champions and last edition's runners-up, India, are favourites to win the tournament as they head to Dhaka as the highest-ranked Asian side.

India have been the most dominant side in the continental tournament despite winning the title only two times (2003 and 2007). While South Korea have won it four times, India have reached the final of the tournament eight out of 10 times.

Meanwhile, Malaysia, ranked 12 in the world, will lead Pool B, which also has defending champions South Korea, China and Oman.

Four-time champions South Korea will battle for group supremacy with Southeast Asian giants in Pool B. The two teams meet on the second matchday of the group -- Saturday, October 14.

Teams [FIH Rankings in parentheses]

Pool A Pool B
India [6] Malaysia [12]
Pakistan [14] South Korea [13]
Japan [17] China [18]
Bangladesh [34] Oman [30]

How to watch matches online

India: TV: Star Sports 2/HD; Live streaming: Hotstar

Malaysia: TV: Astro Arena/HD ; Live streaming: Astro Go

Pakistan: TV: PTV; Live streaming: PTV Sports Live

Japan: TV: TV Tokyo

Tournament format

Two teams from each pool will progress to the Super 4s.

At the end of the single-legged round-robin matches in Super 4, the top two teams will play the final, while the third and fourth-placed teams will play the third-place match.

Full schedule

Pool A

Match Date Time
India vs Japan 11 October 3pm local time, 2:30pm IST
Pakistan vs Bangladesh 11 October 5:30pm local time, 5pm IST
Japan vs Pakistan 13 October 3pm local time, 2:30pm IST
India vs Bangladesh 13 October 5:30pm local time, 5pm IST
Japan vs Bangladesh 15 October 3pm local time, 2:30pm IST
India vs Pakistan 15 October 5:30pm local time, 5pm IST

Pool B

Match Date Time
Malaysia vs China 12 October 3pm local time, 2:30pm IST
South Korea vs Oman 12 October 5:30pm local time, 5pm IST
China vs Oman 14 October 3pm local time, 2:30pm IST
South Korea vs Malaysia 14 October 5:30pm local time, 5pm IST
Malaysia vs Oman 16 October 3pm local time, 2:30pm IST
China vs South Korea 16 October 5:30pm local time, 5pm IST

The second round (Super 4s) will be played between October 18 and October 21.

What to expect from India

Led by Manpreet Singh, the Asian giants have a good mix of experience and youth in the 18-member squad. Veteran midfielder Sardar Singh, along with forwards SV Sunil and Aakashdep Singh have returned to the squad after missing the Europe Tour in August.

India are drawn in Group A along with Bangladesh, Japan and Pakistan. Manpreet's side will take on Pakistan in the much-anticipated head-to-head clash on Sunday, October 15. Notably, former coach Roelant Oltmans' side had beaten their arch-rivals twice during Hockey World League semi-final, played in London in June.

India had an impressive run in the Europe Tour. Despite losing to Belgium twice, the new-look side bounced back and defeated Netherlands twice and ended the tour on a high by beating Austria in a thriller.

Gurjant Singh, who impressed during the tour, has been named in the squad for the Asia Cup.

Focus on Sjoerd Marijne

It will be interesting to see how chief coach Sjoerd Marijne performs under pressure. Notably, the Dutchman along with India's High-Performance Director David John made sure India prepared well for the Asia Cup by having a six-week national camp.

India team

Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera

Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar

Midfielders: SK Uthappa, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh (captain), Chinglensana Singh, Sumit

Forwards: S.V. Sunil (vice-captain), Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar, Gurjant Singh, Satbir Singh