4 Apr 2017

Inexperienced Black Sticks side set for Malaysia

1:09 pm on 4 April 2017

The New Zealand mens hockey team have named a largely inexperienced squad to play at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia later this month.

Arun Panchia

Arun Panchia will captain the side in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The tournament which starts on 27 April will see The Black Sticks go up against the hosts Malaysia, Australia, Great Britain, India and Japan.

Experienced defender Arun Panchia will captain the side, which sees the return of Rio Olympian Hayden Phillips and midfielder George Muir from long term injuries.

Muir last played at the 2016 Ford National Hockey League before undergoing shoulder surgery.

Muir said after watching a lot of hockey over the last six months he's hungry to get back on the field.

"I'm excited to be back in black playing for New Zealand again, it's been a long time between test matches so I can't wait to get to Malaysia and into tournament mode."

Head coach Darren Smith said several players were ruled out of selection with injury, including Simon Child, Nick Haig and Brad Read while James Coughlan is unavailable with work commitments.

"While the team is light on experience, it's a great opportunity for the group that played against Pakistan to step up and signal their intentions.

"We would have liked to take away a more experienced group, but unfortunately there are a lot of players either unavailable or injured," he said.

"Many of these guys saw playing time during the Pakistan series and I thought they performed well, although this will be another big step up for them."