Hockey India and Hockey New Zealand today announced a six match series between India and New Zealand scheduled to take place from 2 to 11 October 2015. The matches will be played in Auckland, Nelson and Christchurch. While India will play the first two matches against the New Zealand A team the last four matches will be played against the New Zealand senior men team. For India the Tour will be in preparation for the all important FIH Hockey World League Final 2015 to be held in Raipur later this year, followed by Rio Olympics slated in 2016 while for New Zealand they will prepare for the upcoming 2015 Oceania Cup wherein a win there would confirm a berth for them in the RIO Olympics 2016.
After a successful Europe Tour in August, where India defeated France and Spain, India Men Team is upbeat to continue their good form and expect positive results from the New Zealand Tour. Indian players are going through an intense training session in New Delhi and getting ready for the series. India would look at using the experience to prepare between for the forthcoming tournaments in the next one year.
In June 2015, New Zealand playing in the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina finished at 6th position after an unfortunate lost against Canada in the quarter-final match. With this set-back and another defeat against Spain in 5th-6th Classification Match, they missed the opportunity to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics. However, New Zealand still has a chance to qualify for the Olympics if they win the 2015 Oceania Cup, which will be held at their home-turf coming October and hence their clash against India will be an important ground to gear up for the upcoming challenge.
Speaking on the Tour, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “The series was planned keeping in mind the upcoming important tournaments that are lined up for the Indian team. Series like this will help our team to understand the continuing changing game style of the opposition and this helps us to further work on our strategies. The team is very excited and are looking forward to continue their good form in the series.”
Malcolm Harris, Hockey New Zealand Chief Executive said, “We are very excited about this upcoming series – it’s the first time since 2009 that India Men have toured New Zealand. Our fans can’t wait to welcome India – it’s a great chance for Kiwis to see world-class hockey here in New Zealand. It also provides the Black Sticks Men with some strong competition ahead of the important Oceania Cup (Stratford, 21-25 October).”
All games will be LIVE streamed. More details about the live stream will be published on www.hockeynz.co.nz ahead of the series starting.
India and New Zealand A will be playing their first match on 2nd October 2015 and which will be played in Auckland.