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Confident India leave for Asian Champions Trophy

india Updated: Dec 18, 2012 00:11 IST

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Determined to defend their title, confident India left for the second edition of the Asian Champions Trophy, to be held from December 20-27 in Doha.

The 18-member squad left on Monday, a day after the Hockey India League players' auction, where skipper Sardar Singh and his deputy VR Raghunath became the highest-paid players from India.

While Sardar was bought by the Delhi franchise for $78,000 (Rs 42.49 lakh), drag-flicker Raghunath also grabbed quite a few eyeballs after the Uttar Pradesh Wizards bought him for $76,000 (Rs 41.40 lakh).

India have retained the same team that finished fourth in the prestigious FIH Champions Trophy in Melbourne recently, where they lost to arch-rivals Pakistan in the bronze-medal match.Sardar, who was one of the five nominated players for the FIH Player of the Year Award, is upbeat about the team's chances in the tournament.

"We have one goal, we are going there to defend our title and we are confident of doing it," he said.

The current edition will also feature China, Japan, Malaysia, Oman and Pakistan. India open their campaign against China on December 20 followed by matches against Japan (December 21), Oman (December 23), Pakistan (December 24) and Malaysia (December 26).