ISLAMABAD Pakistan are all set to face host Australia in the opening match of Lanco International Super Hockey Series today (Thursday) at Perth Hockey Stadium. Hockey Australia introduced the annual International Marquee Tournament inviting the best Commonwealth nations including Pakistan, India, New Zealand and host Australia, in the tournament to be played under the new rules which will make hockey more exciting. It is an opportunity for players to demonstrate their skills as furious format featuring back-to-back games between top international rivals in which each team can have nine players instead of 11, shorter halves, more leniency on foot and stick violations outside the circle and one player from each team to remain in the forward half. The nine-a-side format, a brainchild of Australia coach Ric Charlsworth, has been sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation and will be played under new rules, ensuring fast-paced hockey with the consent of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) at Perth. Talking exclusively to TheNation from Perth on Wednesday, team manager Kh Junaid said: The teams morale and confidence is sky high as we have done excessive training under the supervision of Dutch coach Michael van Den and he is also satisfied with the players performance and hopeful the team will done well. All players were fit and focusing to improve the fitness standard which would help them in other international events too, he added. Now the senior players will have to fight for their places in the team because the youngsters have shown potential in recently-concluded events that will also help in finalising the team for the 2012 London Olympics, Junaid said. In new format, he said: Goalkeeper has the key role in the fast track hockey and we are hopeful our goalkeeper Imran Shah will do well and pour main focus will be polish players skills in goal execution and penalty-corners conversion. Players may face difficulties in adopting the new format quickly and we are hopeful for better results, Khawaja added. Shakeel Abbasi will lead the squad in the absence of regular skipper M Imran due to illness. Meanwhile, the mastermind behind the new series Charlesworth said: I hope the new rules will make the sport more attractive for spectators. The FIH have sanctioned the event and over time, we will see changes but not much will happen before the Olympics 2012, and that is fair, he added. With just nine players on the field, there will be a lot more space, which leaves less people to defend and this will certainly help to get back the spectators at the grounds who have stopped to witness matches on the play grounds, Charlesworth claimed. Pakistan squad: Shakeel Abbasi (capt), Sohail Abbas, Waseem Ahmed, M Imran, Imran Shah, M Irfan, Kashif Shah, M Rizwan Sr, M Tousiq, Rashid Mehmood, Fareed Ahmed, Abdul Haseem Khan, Shafqat Rasool, M Waqas, M Rizwan Junior, Ali Shan, M Zubair, Umar Bhutta and M Irfan Junior. Michael van den Heuvel (head coach), Shahid Ali Khan and Ajmal Khan Lodhi (assistant coaches), Kh Junaid (team manager), Faizur Rehman (physiotherapist) and Nadeem Khan Lodhi (video analyst). Australia squad: Des Abbott, George Bazeley, Kiel Brown, Matthew Butturini, Chris Ciriello, Tristan Clemons, Liam De Young, Tim Deavin, Jamie Dwyer, Russell Ford, Mark Knowles, Mark Paterson, Eddie Ockenden, Simon Orchard, Glenn Simpson, Matthew Swann, Glenn Turner, Jason Wilson.