Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, the most prestigious hockey tournament outside FIH calendar, which has been regularly hosted since its inception in 1983 and have been played 20 times till 2011. Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2012 will be 21st edition and special with the fact that it will be played on blue pitch with yellow ball, as in London Olympics 2012, at Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh (Perak, Malaysia), which can be reached in two hours by and located in north of Kuala Lumpur.
Since, Olympics are round the corner, every team will try to test their strategy and finalize their squads for London, this edition of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is expected to witness some high class competitive matches and not forget to clash of arch rivals India and Pakistan on 31st May, 2012. Korea, New Zealand and India are in same pool in London Games, while other three teams Great Britain, Argentina and Pakistan are in one pool in Olympics, so it will be interesting to see how do they play each other in their last face-to-face before locking horns in quadrennial event on Riverbank Arena, London. Teams have studied their opponents very well before the tournament, while Korean coach Shin Kyo Seok feels that current Indian team is impressive and will be difficult for them to tackle India after watching the videos of Indian team playing against Germany, Australia and Great Britain in Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament in London.
Five times champions India (ranked 10th) will have tough task at their disposal as they face New Zealand (ranked at 7th place in world) in their campaign opener while Pakistan (3 times winner of the tournament) will face Argentina in the opening match of the tournament. Young Indian side led by experienced Bharat Chetri and coached by Michael Nobbs (who took charge after India finished at 6th place in 20th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (2011) ), will be testing their preparation for London Olympics against teams Great Britain, Korea, New Zealand, Pakistan and Argentina, who all have qualified for London Games except hosts Malaysia.
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Detailed schedule of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2012 can be found here.