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India rebuilding at Azlan Shah

Asia's best hockey teams will line up against world champions Australia at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, starting Thursday.

india Updated: May 05, 2010 00:20 IST

Asia's best hockey teams will line up against world champions Australia at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, starting Thursday.

Asian champions South Korea head the regional cast along with India, Pakistan, Malaysia and China. Former African champions Egypt are the seventh team in the fray.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the first major international tournament since the World Cup in New Delhi ended in March, will shine a spotlight on the changes made by teams that played there.

The Kookaburras, who are the world's number-one team following their thrilling 2-1 victory over Germany in the World Cup finals, will see two players make their debut - Tim Deavin and Trent Mitton.

South Korea, which finished sixth at the World Cup, have only won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup once, in 1996, but have made the finals five times.

Like all the Asian teams in the tournament, the Koreans are starting their preparations for the Asian Games, which will be held in Guangzhou, China in November.

The Asian Games is the first step for teams in the region to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Only the gold medal winner will gain an automatic berth while the others have to go through a qualifying process.

For India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Australia, the Commonwealth Games is another major assignment waiting for them in October in New Delhi. “There is still a lot of work to be done and the eighth place finish in the World Cup is just the starting point,” said India's coach Jose Brasa.

"We are the defending champions here at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, but winning it is not the priority," he added.

The Indians have 10 players from the World Cup squad.

Women's team in tough group at world cup

Chennai: India are placed in Group A along with defending champions the Netherlands in the women's hockey World Cup to be held in Rosario, Argentina, from Aug 29 to Sep 11.