The upcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is a great opportunity for youngsters to showcase their mettle ahead of the men’s Hockey World League Semifinal to be held in London in June this year, says India hockey team midfielder Manpreet Singh.
With the senior men’s team for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup scheduled to be announced next week, Manpreet feels the tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia is a great platform to see where the side stands ahead of the HWL Semifinal.
“Teams like England and Australia will play with a young squad. We are awaiting the final team selection but I feel this is a great tournament for the youngsters. The atmosphere is good with lots of spectators and top teams play here so there is tough competition,” Manpreet said.
“Since this is the first tournament we play this year, we can see where we stand and what are the changes that need to be made moving forward,” stated the midfielder, who was recently appointed as Deputy Superintendent of Police by the Punjab Government.
In this year’s edition of Azlan Shah Cup, defending champions Australia, England, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan and Korea will vie for top honours along side runners-up India.
After having missed the top spot last year, India players are determined to return with a gold this time around.
“Last time we lost in the final but this time definitely the aim is to win the title. We have had really good sessions in the national camp and with youngsters in the mix, there are options to try out different combinations,” Manpreet said.
“Our results will be based on how well we execute our plans,” he added.
Manpreet feels the Azlan Shah Cup will be a big learning curve for the youngsters.
“Players like Mandeep Singh, Harjeet Singh and Harmanpreet Singh have played in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup before. They could also understand the demands of senior level hockey.
“Likewise, I feel some of the other youngsters too can learn a lot from this tournament if they are selected and also if they perform well then it’s great for the team as we can have a fresh approach and outlook in the upcoming tournaments like men’s Hockey World League Semifinal and Asia Cup,” he added.