After dominance in Odisha, now India ready for Aussie challenge

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | April 05, 2024 IST

Indian Men's Hockey Team

New Delhi, April 5: Indian men's team is primed and ready to embark on a thrilling hockey showdown as they gear up to face Australia in an eagerly anticipated five-match Test series, which kicks off from Saturday in Perth, marking a crucial juncture in India’s preparations for the Paris Olympics 2024.

With the other four matches scheduled on April 7, 10, 12, and 13, fans are in for a treat as they witness a display of raw talent and unwavering determination.

Fresh from their commanding performances in the FIH Pro League 2023-24, where they exhibited sheer dominance in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, the Indian squad, which is led by Harmanpreet Singh, enters this series with a formidable reputation.

Their exceptional skill and unwavering resilience, culminating in victory in three out of four matches in Bhubaneswar (in regulation time) and maintaining an unbeaten streak in Rourkela (in regulation time), have raised the bar for their performance against Australia.

Chief Coach Craig Fulton expresses the significance of this tour, stating, "This series serves as a litmus test for our team's preparedness ahead of the Paris Olympics. We aim to fine-tune our strategies and identify areas for improvement to ensure we are in peak form for the mega event. Our focus will be on executing our game plan effectively and adapting to the challenges posed by the Australian side."

Captain Harmanpreet Singh echoes this sentiment, declaring, "We are geared up for the challenge that lies ahead. Every match is an opportunity for us to showcase our skills and make our nation proud. We are aware of the tough competition Australia presents, but we are confident in our abilities and our preparations. As a team, we are united and determined to give our best on the field. Our goal is to not only perform well in this series but also to learn and grow as a unit, laying a strong foundation for our campaign in the Paris Olympics."

Moreover, with Australia drawn in the same Group B as India in the Paris Olympics, the stakes are higher than ever. The Test series provides the perfect platform for both teams to gauge each other's strengths and weaknesses before the ultimate showdown in Paris.

Furthermore, history beckons for the Indian team as they aim to end a decade-long drought in a Test series win against Australia. Notably, India won the last Test series against Australia on their own soil back in 2014.

Reflecting on their head-to-head encounters, India and Australia have clashed on the hockey field a total of 43 times since 2013, according to data from the FIH Data Hub. Among these matchups, Australia have emerged victorious 28 times, while India have celebrated a triumph in 8 games. Additionally, 7 matches ended in a draw.

With India ranked fourth and Australia fifth in the current World Rankings, the stage is set for a gripping battle between two hockey powerhouses.

India will take on Australia in the opening match of the series on April 6. (IANS)

    Tags
  • hockey
  • Hockey India
  • FIH Hockey
  • FIH Pro League
  • Harmanpreet Singh

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