Defending champions India will open its campaign at the Asia Cup in a high-octane clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on Monday at the vibrant GBK Arena
Defending champions India will open its campaign at the Asia Cup in a high-octane clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on Monday at the vibrant GBK Arena, the same venue as the Asian Games Jakarta in 2018. An action-packed opening day will also witness Malaysia take on Oman, who are riding on the success of their Asian Games Qualifier in Thailand a fortnight ago, while Asian Champions Trophy title holders Korea will play Bangladesh in the Pool B matches. Japan, who are also the Asian Games defending champions, will take on hosts Indonesia.
Forward Simranjeet Singh last played for India in the bronze medal playoff against Germany in the Tokyo Olympics. He has been out due to an injury since then, missing all of India’s Pro League fixtures and the Asian Champions Trophy.
While plethora of young players in this team would be looking to impress the selectors and chief head coach Graham Reid, they will first have to get Sardar Singh’s vote. The former India captain has been pursuing his coaching licenses since ending his prolific playing career in September 2018 and this is probably the biggest opportunity he has got to showcase his credentials as a coach.
The three players formed the core of the team that clinched the title back in 2017. They then went their separate ways. While Lakra was vice-captain of the team that won a historic bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, SV Sunil was not selected for the tournament while Saradar Singh retired. Now, all three have come back together, albeit in different roles, to get India another Asia Cup title.