NEW DELHI: India junior hockey team coach Jude Felix has said his wards will showcase "top-quality hockey" at the 7th Sultan of Johor Cup which begins on October 22 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
The Indian team, captained by Vivek Sagar Prasad with Pratap Lakra his deputy, will go into the tournament aiming to gain exposure and experience against players from the top international teams at the junior level.
Japan, Australia, Great Britain, the United States and Malaysia are the other five participating teams in the tournament. India will play a match each with them through the round-robin format.
The 18-member squad had been going through the grind at the national camp at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Lucknow.
"We have done our preparations at the national camp keeping in mind the teams we will be up against at the Sultan of Johor Cup. It is important for this young bunch to get accustomed to performing against the top teams and players from across the world. I am confident that we will showcase top-quality hockey in Malaysia," Felix said as they left from the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday for Malaysia.
The Indian team finished runners-up the last time they took part in the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup in 2015 and captain Prasad is aiming to better that result.
"We have a great bunch of players in our squad who have shown cohesion during our national camp. All of the team members bring something extra to our style of play and it will stand us in good stead ahead of the tournament's opening match against Japan," said Prasad, who hails from Madhya Pradesh.
A good performance in Malaysia will prove to be a stepping stone for the Indian team which starts their journey of retaining the world title.