Hockey Asia Cup 2017: India to play Pakistan in Group A clash
India and Pakistan are all set to resume their rivalries, this time, on the hockey turf, as the giants of the continent converge upon Bangladesh for the 2017 Hockey Asia Cup, on Sunday, October 15.
The two countries have a rich tradition in the history of the sport, rivaling each other on the pitch, a rivalry that has been fuelled by political tensions and wars. Being two of the favourites, both India and Pakistan will have one eye on the trophy, going into this tournament.
India are set to be led out onto the pitch by Manpreet Singh, while Mohammad Irfan Sr is set to be his counterpart on the pitch.
What makes a good run in the Hockey Asia Cup all the more crucial is that the 2018 World Cup spots are up for grabs.
Though Asian hockey has a rich history, teams from the continent has seen a decline in the last decade or so. In fact the three giants like India, Pakistan, and South Korea have hogged the limelight for the tournament.
India and Pakistan have been placed in Group A of the tournament, alongside Japan and hosts Bangladesh. While Japan and Bangladesh both have the capability to spring a surprise or two, it is the twos sub-continental giants, who are expected to make it through to the second roung, which sees another round-robin style group between the top two sides of Group A and B. The top two sides from the second round make it to the finals, while the bottom two go into the third/fourth place playoff.
So far, South Korea have been the most dominant side in this continental meet, winning the title four times; Pakistan have won it thrice, while India emerged victorious on two occasions. However, India have made the most appearances in the finals – seven.
Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera, Dipsan Tirkey, Kothajit Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, SK Uthappa, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh (captain), Chinglensana Kangujam, Sumit, S.V. Sunil (vice-captain), Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar, Gurjant Singh, Satbir Singh,
Mohammad Irfan Sr (captain), Rizwan Sr (vice captain), Mazhar Abbas, Amjad Ali, Atif Mushtaq, Mubashir Ali, Ammad Shakil Butt, Abu Bakar, Tassawur Abbas, Rashid Mahmood, Rizwan Jr, Arsalan Qadir, Azfar Yaqoob, Umer Bhutta, Ali Shan, M. Atiq, Waqas Akbar and Aijaz Ahmed.