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India to be invited for Azlan Shah
February 04, 2005 15:45 IST
Despite fielding a second string team in last year's Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, India is all set to get an invitation from Malaysia for participation in the prestigious tournament this year scheduled to be held from May 26-June 5.
Malaysia Hockey Federation said it has decided to retain last year's cast for the annual competition, which will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, and would be sending invitation to the teams in a day or two.
Olympic gold medallists Australia will defend the title, the other teams who will get invitations are last year's runners-up Pakistan, South Korea, Germany, Spain and India.
"We will send out invitations to them this weekend and we hope they can give us a reply by next month," The MHF secretary, T Paramalingam, was quoted as saying in the local media.
He said New Zealand, South Africa, Holland and England have been kept as reserves.
India had fielded an experiemental team under the captaincy of Dhanraj Pillay last year. The team lost five of the six matches they played and drew the other to finish last in the seven-team competition.
Paramalingam said there would be no change in the format of the tournament -- a round-robin competition with the top two team contesting the final and playoffs for third and fifth places.
Last year, South Korea beat Germany in a shoot-out to take third place and Spain downed Malaysia for fifth place. Hosts Malaysia finished sixth.