Adelaide, November 25 World number five India will take on Australia in a five-game match starting in Adelaide from Saturday, in what is being billed as a stellar series between international hockey powers.
The two teams have been close in their recent performances and have met twice since 2020 – at the Tokyo Olympics where India finished with a historic bronze and Australia with a silver. They also met in the final of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games where Australia won the gold medal.
On the eve of the series, India’s chief coach Graham Reid said, “There is no better place to come than Australia to prepare for the World Cup.
“The Australian way of playing is very ingrained in India. The great thing about this series is that both teams learn the different skills that they both bring to the table,” Reid added during a pre-match press conference in Adelaide.
With the 2023IFA Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar-Rourkela less than 50 days away, captain Harmanpreet Singh has assured that every match against Australia will be vital in their preparations for the landmark event at home.
“This series is really important to us. When you’re preparing for a huge event like the World Cup, it’s always good to play against the best in the run-up,” said the blinking draw ace who will be a penalty shootout in India.
He also expressed his happiness at playing for Adelaide. “It’s great to be in Australia after a gap of so many years. Because of Covid, we couldn’t travel here, there are many passionate Indian hockey fans here and we always love playing for them. I look forward to the good games here,” said Harmanpreet.
Australia manager Colin Batch said, “This series is really important for us going into the World Cup in January. It’s great that India is here. We love playing against them and it will be a great competition for us.”
“It will be a great competition for us. India are a really strong team and those will be the only matches we will play before the World Cup, so we are delighted to have a team of Indian caliber to play against,” Bach added.
“We feel we can take some solid steps in our preparation for the World Cup. Unlike the Olympics where we had 6-7 months of training together, we didn’t get that in before the World Cup so hopefully the importance of these matches, meetings and training that we have between now and then will enable us to Then from reaching this level… again,” the opening impulse.
India vs Australia: Match days – 26, 27 and 30 November and 3 and 4 December.
Play free online games