It will be an excellent opportunity for the Indian men’s hockey team to assess their strengths and weaknesses ahead of the World Cup when they take on world number one Australia in their five-match series opener here on Saturday. It has always been difficult for India to challenge Australia, who have long dominated the hockey world. The two teams will be playing against each other for the first time after India were thrashed 0-7 by Australia in the final of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Ranked fifth in the world, the Indian team will not be favorites to win this match but after winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, the team has consistently performed well barring a few matches. Before coming to Australia, the Indian team has two wins against New Zealand and a win and a loss against Spain in the FIH Pro League in Bhubaneswar. Spain and New Zealand are below India in both the rankings at eighth and ninth positions respectively. In such a situation, facing Australia in their home ground will be a completely different challenge for the Indian team. Indian coach Reid said about this series, “There can be no better place than Australia to prepare for the World Cup.”
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He said, “Australia’s way of playing is liked in India. The best thing about this series is that both the teams will get to learn about each other’s different skills. The series is very important for us. When you are preparing for a big event like the World Cup, it is always good to play against the best team.” Will be present in the ground to cheer for the Indian team.
He said, “It is wonderful to come to Australia after a gap of many years. Due to Kovid-19, we could not travel for a long time. There is a large number of passionate fans of Indian hockey here. I hope for a good match.Australia’s chief coach Colin Batch said, “This series is very important for us ahead of the World Cup in January. It is great that India is here. We love playing against them and it will be a great match for us. The next four matches of the series will be played on November 27 and 30 and one and three on December.
Teams :Indian Team: Harmanpreet Singh (Captain), Amit Rohidas (Vice-Captain), Krishna Bahadur Pathak, PR Sreejesh, Varun Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Jugraj Singh, Mandeep Mor, Neelam Sanjeep Says, Gurjant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mohd Raheel Moussin, Rajkumar Pal, Neelakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sumit, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Abhishek and Sukhjit Singh Australia squad: Jacob Anderson, Daniel Beal, Josh Beltz, Andrew Charter, James Collins, Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson, Johan Durst, Nathan Ephraims, Blake Govers, Jake Harvey, Jeremy Hayward, Tim Howard, Dylan Martin, Eddie Ockenden, Flynn Ogilvie, Ben Rennie, Lachlan Sharpe, Jack Welch, Jake Wetton, Tom Wickham, Ky Willott, Aran Zalewski .