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Nobbs to rest Sardar today

Doha: Already assured of a place in the summit clash, India would look to test their reserves when they take on Malaysia in their final round-robin match of the second Asian Champions Trophy, here, on Wednesday.

While India have already sealed their place in the final of the tournament after winning all their four matches, Malaysia have just seven points from four outings and need to win against India on Wednesday, and then count on other results.

India’s chief coach Michael Nobbs plans to rest Sardar Singh and provide exposure to all junior players.

“Sardar is already over-worked, he needs some rest, and tomorrow is the right time for this,” Nobbs said.

Nobbs refused to give much importance to the team’s last round robin contest.

“From the final’s point of view, Wednesday’s game is irrelevant and that gives an opportunity for us to rest our senior players. Junior players will have a significant role to play tomorrow.

“Malaysia is a good and upcoming team. We will just play our normal game and get ready for the final day,” he said.

Paul Ravington, the South African, who recently took over as Malaysia coach is aware of the situation and vows to make a match of it.

“They (India) are going to get a tough game from us tomorrow. We play each game to win and that is what we are going for tomorrow,” he said from his official hotel in Doha.

Ravington also considers this tournament as a part of a long-term development programme but he hastens to add, “We are also focussing on each game to accomplish our short-term goals. We will go all out tomorrow with whatever statistical targets we have.

“If our short-term targets (of winning matches) and long-term ones match, it would be a perfect scenario.”

Ravington, who played for South African under-21 teams and also coached Ireland till recently, anticipates a good match from India.

“We know it’s a standard Indian team. We are also very high on our skills and speed. They are the team in form. They have done reasonably well recently. Penalty corners are the strength of both the teams.

“They (India) are going to get a tough game from us tomorrow,” he warned.

A confident India, on Monday, overcame the first half blues before defeating Pakistan 2-1 in the penultimate match of the tourney.

While Rupinder Pal Singh and Chenglansena scored goals for India, Pakistan’s lone goal came from the stick of Mohammed Waqas. It was India’s fourth straight win.

Earlier, they had beaten China (4-0), Japan (3-1) and Oman (11-0) in the league.