Bengaluru: India star Manpreet Singh feels that the upcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is a great tournament to see where the national team stands ahead of the Men’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semi Final to be held in June.
This year’s edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which is scheduled to run from April 27 to May 6, will see England, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea vie for top honours along with India.
“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.”
In last year’s edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India took the silver medal after losing to Australia in the final. But this time, the Indians are determined to return with a gold.
“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 asserted.
“Our results will be based on how well we execute the plans we work on here in the camp,” he added.
The midfielder, who was recently appointed as Deputy Superintendent of the Punjab Police, said the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup can provide an excellent learning experience for the youngsters as they strive to cement their places in the senior India squad.
“Players like Mandeep Singh, Harjeet Singh and Harmanpreet Singh have played in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where they got great exposure. They could also understand the demands of senior level hockey,” Manpreet said.
“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 Semi Final and Asia Cup,” he added.