AN EPIC ON THE CARDS

Saturday, 05 May 2012 17:16

Any match between India and Pakistan will create a stir amongst hockey fans worldwide.

Thus expect the same when the two traditional foes take on each other in a Group B match at the MBM Hockey Stadium in Malacca, Malaysia on Sunday.

Having started off the tournament in contrasting fashion, with India slamming 11 goals past a hapless Sri Lanka while Pakistan toiled to a 1-0 win over China, both teams are expected to dish out free flowing hockey.

There is much at stake here, as a win will almost assure the winners of avoiding hosts Malaysia in the last four.

India were akin to playing a practice match against Sri Lanka as they were virtually camped in their opponents half for long periods of the match. Such was their dominance that they could have doubled the figures had they been sharper in the semi circle, a fact not missed by coach Baljit Singh Saini.

“A coach is never happy not matter how big the margin of victory is. I believe we were guilty of not utilising the circle penetrations to the max. We should be sharper in the semi circle,” said Baljit.

When asked about the match against Pakistan and the historical and bragging rights that goes with it, Baljit had this to say;

“To me it is just another match against a team from our group. I have told the players to treat it as such. As a player I have played numerous times against them and really even at senior level we just look at them as just another opponent,” contends Baljit.

“What is more important is how we play and the end result.”

For skipper Akhashdeep Singh, playing Pakistan is always an exciting prospect.

“We have a team that is capable of beating them and I intend to spur my players into doing just that,” he said after leading India to a rout of Sri Lanka.

Pakistan too are relishing the prospects of a win against India and more importantly want a win to assure themselves of a place in the Junior World Cup finals in 2013.

“I am looking forward to the match and always enjoy matches against India. The last time I played against them was during the Tri Nation in Australia where it ended in a draw,” said Pakistan skipper Muhd Umar Bhutta.

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