With the senior men's hockey team for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup scheduled to be announced next week, Indian midfielder Manpreet Singh believes that the upcoming tournament is a great opportunity to see where the team stands ahead of the Hockey World League ( HWL) semi-final in London in June.
In this year's edition, England, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan and Korea will vie for top honours along with India.
"Teams like England and Australia will play with a young squad. We are awaiting the final team selection but I feel this is a great tournament for the youngsters. The atmosphere is good with lots of spectators and top teams play here so there is tough competition. Since this is the first tournament we play this year, we can see where we stand and what are the changes that need to be made moving forward," stated Manpreet Singh, who was recently appointed as Deputy Superintendent of Police by Punjab Government.
In the previous edition of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India won the silver medal after losing to Australia in the final. But this time, the team is determined to return with a gold.
"Last time we lost in the final but this time definitely the aim is to win the title. We have had really good sessions in the national camp and with youngsters in the mix there are options to try out different combinations," he feels.
"Our results will be based on how well we execute the plans we work on here in the camp," he added.
Moving forward, with the intention of infusing fresh blood into the senior men's team, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup can be a big learning for youngsters.
"Players like Mandeep Singh, Harjeet Singh and Harmanpreet Singh have played in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where they got great exposure. They could also understand the demands of senior level hockey. Likewise, I feel some of the other youngsters too can learn a lot from this tournament if they are selected and also if they perform well then it's great for the team as we can have a fresh approach and outlook in the upcoming tournaments like Men's Hockey World League Semi Final and Asia Cup," he added.