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India to open campaign against Pakistan

May 09, 2009 18:04 IST

India will open their title defence campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in the eighth Asia Cup hockey tournament in Malaysia on Sunday after the schedule of the event was revised following Sri Lanka's last-minute pull out.

As per the revised schedule, minnows Bangladesh have been shifted from Pool B to Pool A, which means India's pool has only three teams in Pakistan and China.

The Pool B now consists of South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

Earlier, India was supposed to play their opening match against Bangladesh on Saturday.

Meanwhile, India's coach-in-charge Harendra Singh has brushed aside talks of his wards feeling the heat to play formidable Pakistan in the opening match.

He said the team is oozing with confidence following the Azlan Shah triumph and are eagerly waiting to take the field.

"The boys are eagerly waiting for the match. There is no pressure on us to play Pakistan in the first match. The confidence among the boys is high.

"The entire pressure will be on them (Pakistan) as we are already there in the World Cup. But I expect the match to be a tough contest. It will be like any India-Pakistan encounter," Harendra said.

India's newly-appointed chief coach Jose Brasa has joined the team here and Harendra said the Spaniard's tips are already reaping rich dividends for the players.

"He (Brasa) is helping the team in a big way. He has given lot of valuable inputs to the boys. His inputs have given them confidence," he said.

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