By Ajitpal Singh
AJITPAL’S World Cup Qualifiers Team: S. Kumar, Khairulnizam Ibrahim, Amin Rahim, Jiwa Mohan, S. Selvaraju, Madzli Ikmar, Faisal Saari, Sharun Nabil, Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Jivan Mohan, Razie Rahim, Kelvinder Singh, C. Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Nabil Fiqri, S. Baljit Singh, Marhan Jalil.
AUSTRALIA coach Richard Charlesworth has warned Malaysia to treat all teams, regardless of their ranking, with respect in next month's World Cup Qualifiers in Invercargill, New Zealand.
"No doubt, New Zealand will be the team to beat in the Qualifiers but Malaysia should not underestimate China, Austria and Scotland as they are very good teams," warned Charlesworth.
"Malaysia should beat Wales but they must be careful of the other teams. As from the two test matches, the Malaysians are talented and if they can convert all their penalty corners then they can beat any team in Invercargill."
Charlesworth said the Malaysian team have the ability to beat New Zealand.
"They should take each match seriously and focus on qualifying for the final. In my experience, anything can happen in a final," he said.
The Australian team played to test matches with Malaysia, winning both 3-1 (Tuesday) and 5-1 (Wednesday).
"The score line in the second test match looks overwhelming but the fact is the Malaysians made us struggle for the victory. They are fast but unfortunately they did not score goals.
"I am also quite surprised that Malaysia had scored only one penalty corner from six attempts. They are normally very strong in set-pieces. Maybe they are not using it here," said Charlesworth, who is in the midst of finalising his squad for the Champions Trophy (Melbourne, Nov 28-Dec 6).
Charlesworth also stressed that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) should look into increasing the number of teams for the World Cup.
"It is ridiculous that next year's World Cop would only have 12 teams. In my view, the World Cup should be a 16-team tournament. It's really silly to have 12 teams when there are at least 20 good teams around," he said.
"I don't like the system. Australia have qualified for the World Cup and we want to win it."
Meanwhile, Malaysia coach Tai Beng Hai has indicated that his players who played in the Asia Cup and Champions Challenge II, will be the ones most likely to make the squad for the Qualifiers in New Zealand.
A total of 19 players from the training squad of 25 were featured by Beng Hai in the recent two test matches against Australia.
The coach is expected to finalise the World Cup Qualifier final 18 after the fifth test match on Sunday.
Malaysia will face Australia in their third test match in Kuantan today.