Drawn in Pool A with Australia, Pakistan, Malaysia and Scotland, India cannot afford to drop a single point in the league matches of the hockey competition at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
This is a golden opportunity to claim gold, which has eluded the eight-time Olympic champions. With the spectators cheering them, the Rajpal Singh-led team must seize this chance to regain past glory.
India begin their campaign against Malaysia today. Winners of the Azlan Shah Cup last year, with a 3-1 margin over their opponents, India will enjoy a psychological advantage while playing before the home crowd.
Our players must play with a positive frame of mind and if they play to their potential, there is no doubt about India's victory. The management must think, plan and execute the strategy well as no team is an underdog in such razor-sharp tournaments.
India and Malaysia play the same brand of hockey. They are similar in physique though the hosts are stronger. Mentally too, the Indians are stronger and are capable of demolishing any opponent on their day.
India finished fourth at Kuala Lumpur in 1998, the year hockey made its debut in Commonwealth Games. They had lost to Malaysia 0-1 in the semifinal. India did not participate in the 2002 Games and the two sides drew 1-1 in Melbourne, where India finished sixth.
The players are also in with a chance to erase the memories of their disappointing display in the World Cup here in February.
Hawkeye Communications/Chivach Sports