India take on defending champions England in their second match of the ongoing 27th edition of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup six-team hockey tournament at Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia on Sunday, March 4.
Five time champions India, led by veteran Sardar Singh, lost their opening match of the tournament against reigning Olympic champions Argentina on Saturday in Ipoh.
Defender Amit Rhodas' double from the penalty corner was not enough as Gonzalo Peillat completed a hat-trick to help his side clinch three points on the opening day of the tournament.
Nonetheless, India should take heart from the way their young stars performed against Argentina. Debutants Mandeep Mor, Sumit Kumar and Shilanand Lakra made an impressive start to their careers with the senior national team.
The likes of Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, SV Sunil and goalkeeper P Sreejesh were rested for the tournament, keeping in mind the Commonwealth Games in April and a following busy schedule for the hockey team.
Lack of experience costs India
India, ranked six on International Hockey Federation (FIH) charts, started the match on a high by taking the attack to Argentina. However, quite a few fouls (46 of them) committed by the Asian giants meant they conceded seven penalty corners, out of which three were converted by their opposition.
Sjoerd Marijne's side will now look to open their account when they take on lower-ranked England.
Notably, the holders, despite featuring a full-strength squad with more than 10 members from their victorious squad from last year, suffered a crushing 4-1 defeat to world no. 1 Australia on Saturday.
Phil Roper scored the only goal for England in a rain hit game. The seventh-ranked side, who have won only five of their last 14 matches, need to buckle up if they are to stand a chance of making an impact in their title defence.
England head coach Bobby Crutchley though is confident of putting on a good show against India on Sunday. The 48-year-old said he was quite impressed with the intent his team showed against the mighty Australians.
"I was actually pleased with a lot of our game, there were encouraging signs but we were punished for some basic errors in defence. A team like Australia will always take advantage in the attacking third," Crutchley said, as quoted by England Hockey's official website.
"We need to cut out these errors and build on some of the quality we showed on the ball. We look forward to the challenge of India tomorrow," he added.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
India's second group-stage match against England will start at 4pm local time, 1:30pm IST and 8am GMT.
Live streaming and TV coverage
India: TV: Star Sports 1; Live streaming: Hotstar
Worldwide: FIH YouTube
Sardar Singh (C), Krishan Pathak (GK), Suraj Karkera (GK), Mandeep Mor, Surender Kumar, Gurjant Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Uthappa S, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Talwinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Nilan Xess, Sumit Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Ramandeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra.
Ian Sloan (C), George Pinner (GK), Harry Gibson (GK), Ollie Willars, Henry Weir, Harry Martin, Christopher Griffiths, Sam Ward, Mark Gleghorne, Phil Roper, Adam Dixon, Barry Middleton, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Liam Ansell, David Condon, James Gall, Liam Sanford.