India to face New Zealand A in the opening match today at Auckland
The India Men Hockey team is all set to clash against New Zealand A team in the opening game of the New Zealand tour today. The Series will witness India playing the first two games against New Zealand A followed by 4 matches to be played against the National New Zealand team.
Post winning the series against France and Spain recently during the Europe Tour, the Indian team during the present tournament intends to start their campaign on a winning note. The team has been working on different aspects of the game during the training session which recently culminated at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi and helped the players to polish their skills before locking horns with the Kiwis.
In a vital position of centre-half, the talented mid-fielder Manpreet Singh will enormously give edge to the Indian team with his quick goal scoring moves. He is also considered as a very effective resource to link between forward line and defence. The forward line will have potent strikers like Akashdeep and Ramandeep Singh who can change the course of the game at any moment. With Rupinder Pal Singh, VR Raghunath, Birendra Lakra and Kothajit Singh all set to keep the opponents on bay, PR Sreejesh will be hoping to get his new goalkeeping learning into play soon.
Speaking ahead of the clash against New Zealand A, Roelant Oltmans Director, High Performance & India Men Chief Coach said, “Every day and every game is new. We have started benchmarking ourselves and we will ensure that we go a notch higher with each game,. This is important, keeping the upcoming tournaments in mind. Not every day do we have the opportunity to play big tournaments and to be in contention we have to start challenging ourselves and be our own competition. The boys are not going to take today’s match lightly as it will set the tone for the upcoming matches. The team is looking good and ready to accept the Kiwi challenge.”
Commenting on the team’s preparation for the upcoming clash, Captain Sardar Singh stated, “It is very important to start a tour on a winning note as it gives you confidence for the rest of the matches. The team is working on the grey patches before Hockey World League Finals, so playing against New Zealand is surely going to help us in our preparations.”