This is actually the dress rehearsal of the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China from 23rd September. The reason for this is that all those teams are participating in it, which have to participate in the Asian Games. With this, India will get the right opportunity to assess the strength of the rest of the teams. In this, the highest ranked team after the fourth ranked Indian team is South Korea, whose ranking is ninth.
The lowest 25th ranking team among the participating teams is China. India has to start its campaign by playing with this team only. Other major teams are Japan, Malaysia and Pakistan.
Generally, it is rare to see more ups and downs in the performance of the world's legendary teams. But Asian teams are known to perform sometimes brilliantly and sometimes weakly.
That's why it is difficult to say which team will blossom when. The biggest example of this is the last Asian Games. Who would have thought that the Japanese team would become champions in these games with India, Pakistan and South Korea. Although Japan's current ranking is 19th and after that India has been winning it easily. Indian team head coach Craig Fulton says that it is great to play in these matches before the Asian Games. With this, it will be easy for us to know how the preparations of other teams are going on.
Along with this, we will also be able to know that the responsibility we have assigned to our players, how they are performing it and how proficient they have become in it. He says that India performed brilliantly in the international tournament in Spain in the past and had prepared well in the camp in Bengaluru before participating in it. If the Indian team plays to its full potential, then there is hardly any problem in its becoming the champion. Anyway, he will also get the benefit of playing among his favorite audience at home.
The South Korean team secured the first position in the Asian Championship held in Dhaka in 2021.
If India wins the title in this championship, then its morale will increase for the Asian Games to be held next month. It is very important for India to win the gold medal in the Asian Games. Because of this, the champion team of the Asian Games will get the ticket for the Olympic Games to be held in Paris next year.
If India does not win the gold medal in the Asian Games, then it will have to go through the qualifying round. There is also a problem in this that these qualifier matches will be played in Pakistan and Spain and India will have to go to Pakistan. South Korea team has not been able to perform as per expectations for the last few years.
But in the last World Cup, it performed better than India and finished eighth, while the Indian team finished ninth. South Korea is known for playing fast hockey. But the Indian team has the ability to control his pace. His game disintegrates as soon as his speed is curbed.
Anyway, the Indian team has started paying more attention to defense since Fulton became the coach. But in this championship, Manpreet Singh has once again been selected in the team as his old position midfielder. It seems that a different style of team's play can be seen in this championship.
In the Indian forward line, young player Karthi Selvam has performed very well in the past. He has been successful in scoring goals in the FIH Pro League against heavyweights like Australia and Germany. He belongs to Tamil Nadu only, so he is going to get tremendous support from the audience.
The biggest advantage of Karti's game is his fast pace and the agility he shows when he reaches the circle, which helps him to harass the opposition defence. It is a good opportunity for this young forward to prove his mettle at home.
Karti says that when he got Indian Colors, it was the best moment of his life but now the time has come to live it up. Like cricket, India and Pakistan are also considered traditional rivals in hockey, but the craze for cricket matches is no longer there for hockey matches.
It is true that both the teams still want to avoid losing to each other. But due to the difference in the level of both the teams, the popularity of this match has decreased.
The match between India and Pakistan will be played on August 9 and this will be the last match of the round robin league. After this semi-finals will be played between the top four teams. Pakistan's team is full of young players. It can be said that Pakistan is preparing the team again.
In fact, in the past years, Pakistan's hockey has suffered a setback due to the team not qualifying for tournaments like the Olympics and the World Cup. Even when it comes to the matches between India and Pakistan, India is in a much better position.
Pakistan's last win over India was seven years ago in the South Asian Games. With this victory, he won the gold medal. Since then, out of 15 matches played between the two countries, India has won 12 and two have been drawn and one has ended in no result.
Indian captain Harmanpreet Singh says about the match with Pakistan, whether it is cricket or hockey, there is excitement in the match with Pakistan. Emotions start flying high in this. But he says that for us it is nothing more than a match.
Apart from Pakistan, Malaysia is also such a team, which has often been successful in troubling India.
About a decade ago, Malaysia emerged as a force to be reckoned with in hockey when Terry Walsh was the coach. But now it is not that strong a team and it is now the tenth ranked team.
India and Pakistan are dominating in this championship. Both the teams have the distinction of winning three times each. Apart from these two, South Korea has the distinction of becoming the champion only once.
When India went to participate in this championship in 2021, it was still the highest ranked among all the teams. But at that time he could only win the bronze medal. This time he will get the support of the domestic audience but the burden of their expectations will also remain. But how far it lives up to these expectations, it will be a matter to be seen.