Champions Trophy winners Australia announced an 18-member squad for the hockey World Cup beginning in New Delhi on February 28.

Australia finished runners up in the last two World Cups and were the winners in 1986.

The squad selected closely resembles the team which won the Champions Trophy tournament last year.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth, the former technical consultant of India, made a surprise choice, selecting 21-year-old Kieran Govers in the squad.

Govers, who hails from New South Wales, made his national debut only 12 days ago during a recent three test series against Korea in Hobart.

A striker, with the flexibility to play as an attacking midfielder, Govers will look to establishing himself alongside the likes of goal scorers Des Abbott, Grant Schubert and Glenn Turner as key playmakers Jamie Dwyer and Eddie Ockenden spend more time in the midfield.

Defender and 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Kiel Brown has returned to the team after missing selection for the Champions Trophy squad. Brown will bring a lot of experience to the Australian defence which is still relatively young following the retirements of full backs Bevan George and Matthew Wells after the Beijing Olympics.

After achieving some good results with the Australian team, Charlesworth will be hoping this squad could end their 24-year wait of a World Cup title.

Charlesworth says Australia is just one of several countries who could win the Hero Honda FIH World Cup.

“I believe there are at least half a dozen teams who are capable of winning. Although we will be one of the favourites, the only pressure we will have is the internal pressure we put on ourselves to play well.

“This tournament is a big event, it will be very exciting and a new experience for a lot of them to play in India for the first time,” Charlesworth was quoted as saying in International Hockey Federation (FIH) website.

In preparation for the World Cup, the Kookaburras will play a two Test series against New Zealand in Perth from February 17-19.

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