Five-time winners of the tournament, India were bronze medalists last year and are eager to stay in medal contention. But the Sardar Singh-led side, which features several youngsters, will have to raise its game by many fold after surviving a torrid time against Canada yesterday.
India's 3-1 victory over Canada has placed them third in the round-robin league standings with six points from three outings, while Pakistan have three points from as many matches. Pakistan's lone win came against Canada by a similar margin.
World champions Australia are leading the standings with a maximum nine points from three consecutive victories, while defending champions New Zealand are on eight points from four matches.
The intense hockey rivalry between the two teams has always attracted immense interest. Despite slumping from their position as top hockey nations, an India-Pakistan encounter never fails to be a showstopper at any tournament.
The silver jubilee edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will see the spotlight focused on the sub-continental encounter even as World no 1 Australia take on title holders New Zealand in another fixture the same day.
"The whole of India is waiting for the next game, but I keep telling the boys that this is just another game," said India's chief coach Roelant Oltmans.

Azlan Shah Cup: India beat Japan in opening match

Latest News from Sports News Desk