Juniors gear up for the Asia Cup title defence | india | Hindustan Times
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Juniors gear up for the Asia Cup title defence

india Updated: Sep 29, 2008 10:21 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times
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After a second-place finish in the Azlan Shah Cup at Malaysia, the upcoming junior Asia Cup hockey tournament in Hyderabad will provide another opportunity to Indian players to take a step towards revival. The hosts will look to maintain their form and successfully defend their title during the event scheduled from July 8 to 18.

“I am confident of a fine show. The boys have matured and are playing fearlessly,” said chairman of the IOA ad-hoc selection committee Aslam Sher Khan.

The Indian team that went to Malaysia comprised mostly junior players who will be part of the team that will take on teams like Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia and Korea here.

“During the K.P.S. Gill regime, the boys were playing as individuals, but now they look like a united force and that is the reason why they did well in Malaysia,” said Aslam.

He admitted that insecurity among players had brought Indian hockey down, adding that things were changing now. “In a team game, co-ordination is a must, and this was what we were lacking earlier.”

India won the junior Asia Cup four years ago in 2004, beating hosts Pakistan in the final in Karachi.

Aslam said India were hosting the event for the first time, and he was making complete effort to make it a grand success. “We have formed an organising committee under the chairmanship of Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, with 21 other members to assist him.

“A probables’ camp is on in Hyderabad and the squad would be announced later this month,” said Aslam.

India have been grouped with Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and Singapore in Pool A.