Asian Champions Trophy 2018: India vs Oman preview, telecast, date, start time and where to watch online
Close on the heels of the Asian Games, comes yet another continental tournament - the significance of which has been magnified by the unexpected results at Jakarta.
The fifth edition of the Asian Champions Trophy gets underway later today in Muscat as the creme-de-la-creme of Asia get set to launch themselves into action.
The Japanese, who stunned the world to capture the title at Jakarta, may find it tough to reassert their Asian supremacy, and coach Siegfried Aikman has stated categorically to Sportskeeda that his side will be weakened by the non-availability of several players who are committed to foreign leagues and his aim would be to try out budding talent with an eye on Tokyo 2020.
Pakistan may have lost Roelant Oltmans, but he has been replaced by a man whose very name sent shivers down the spines of defenders around the world in the 1980s.
Hassan Sardar, one of the best center-forwards of all time and captain of the gold-medal winning squad of the 1984 LA Olympics will now coach the team.
The wily Sardar, who has been part of the Pakistan unit as team manager, will now take on the role of guide and mentor, and history has been witness to the fact that the old wizards can never be written off.
The Malaysians who stunned Sreejesh and co, in Jakarta will be keen to demonstrate that their silver-medal winning performance was no flash in the pan, even as Oltmans will look to gel and bond quickly with his new chargers who have been drawn in the World Cup's Pool of Death.
The South Koreans seem to have lost their old magic but are still capable of upsetting the best in the business on their day, and the fact that the former giants are under no pressure whatsoever can make them the most dangerous side in the competition.
Oman ranked 33rd as per the FIH World rankings are no bunnies and the hosts held Pakistan to a 4-4 draw after trailing 0-3 in a three-nation tournament before the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.
Tahir Zaman, one of the architects of Pakistan's 1994 World Cup triumph who has coached his native country in the past is now with the Oman camp. Tahir's immense experience will no doubt bolster the hosts who will look to make life difficult for the top teams in the tournament.
Yet, the Asian Champions Trophy assumes enormous significance for one team more than any other side in the competition - the defending champions will seek redemption following the Jakarta debacle, look to regain some much-needed confidence, iron out the last-minute flaws, and hopefully knit together a cohesive and potent combination before the all-important World Cup gets underway in just over a month's time.
Harendra Singh's team, have a lot to prove and a few scores to settle as well - the humiliation that the Indians suffered in the Asian Games semifinal will help to stoke the flames, no doubt, as they look to emphatically make a statement and end the debate as to which team is indeed the best in the continent.
As is often the case, a team's opening match may well set the tone for the rest of the tournament and the Indians will be hoping that they can start with a resounding bang just as they did in the pool games at Jakarta.
Here is how you can catch all the action.
Event: Asian Champions Trophy 2018
Venue: Oman, Muscat
Date: 18 October 2018
Time: 10:40 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2
Live Streaming: Hotstar
Live Updates: Sportskeeda