An international Hockey players resume is not complete if he has not played in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
That was how former Indian skipper Dhanraj Pillay summed up the importance of the tournament in the world Hockey calendar.
The 25th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be held from April 6-16 in Ipoh. Seven teams, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Canada, Japan and Malaysia are participating.
"This is truly a world class tournament, and every Hockey player should have played it it to claim they have done it all in the sport," said Dhanraj who was in Kuala Lumpur recently.
"I was privileged to have played in this tournament from 1989 to 1999 and enjoyed all the experiences.
" it is truly a world class event, second only to the Olympics and World Cup.
" I feel proud that Malaysia has kept the tournament going for 25 editions as it provides an opportunity for players to showcase their talents."
Dhanraj said that he had many bitter sweet memories of the tournament but said that getting a chance to meet the late Sultan Azlan Shah was priceless.
" Sultan Azlan will watch all the matches and plays a perfect host as he was very friendly and had the interest of Hockey at heart," added Dhanraj who had also played for several teams in the Malaysian Hockey League.
"The tournament this year will be close as four teams - Australia, New Zealand, India and Csbada are preparing for the Olympics.
" But do not discount Malaysia, Pakistan and Japan as they can surprise."
With regards to Malaysia who are rebuilding the team, Dhanraj said that Malaysian Hockey made the correct decision to rely on local expertise in coaching.
" That was a bold decision and in Long term I believe that it is the correct one," said Dhsnraj who hopes to sign on with a Malaysian club for the MHL this year as a Coach.
"Malaysia has talent in Hockey and marches against India have always been close.
"I believe that this year the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be one of the most keenly contested."