India reach Ipoh in search of sixth Azlan Shah title



India reach Ipoh in search of sixth Azlan Shah titleIpoh (Malaysia): Eyeing their sixth title, erstwhile heavyweights of the game India today arrived here for the 21st Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament to be played from May 24 to June 3.

The tournament, to be played on blue artificial pitch with yellow balls, will provide India with vital practice ahead of the upcoming Olympics as barring hosts Malaysia, all other participating teams will be featuring at the London Games.

Apart from India and hosts Malaysia, the seven-nation tournament will also feature Argentina, Great Britain, Korea, New Zealand and arch-rivals Pakistan.

The 18-member Indian team will be led by goalkeeper Bharat Chetri with midfielder Sardar Singh as his deputy.

India will open their campaign against New Zealand on the first day of the tournament, followed by matches against Korea (May 25), Great Britain (May 27), Malaysia (May 28), Argentina (May 30) and Pakistan (May 31).

India have won the Azlan Shah title on five occasions earlier -- in 1985, 1991, 1995, 2009 and 2010.

Just-recovered striker Yuvraj Walmiki has replaced Gurvinder Singh Chandi, who suffered from a hamstring injury during the London Olympic Test event early this month, in the Indian team.
Squad:

Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (Capt) and Sreejesh PR.

Defenders: Sandeep Singh, VR Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh.

Midfielders: Birendra Lakra, Sardar Singh (Vice-Capt), Manpreet Singh, Gurbaj Singh and Kothajit Singh Khadangbam.

Forwards: SV Sunil, Dharamvir Singh, Sarvanjit Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki, Shivendra Singh, Danish Mujtaba, S K Uthappa and Tushar Khandker.

PTI