The Indian women’s hockey team is all geared up to take on hosts Australia on Thursday in the first game of their trip Down Under, where they will play five matches from May 18-27 at MATE Stadium in Adelaide.
The team led by goalkeeper Savita Punia and vice captained by Deep Grace Ekka will play Australia in the first three games of the series, followed by two matches against Australia A. The tour is part of the Indian team’s preparations for the upcoming Asian Games 2023, which will take place in September-October this year.
The Indian team will open its tour with a match against Australia on the May 18 before playing back-to-back games on May 20 and 21. The visitors will then compete against Australia A on May 25 and 27. The Australian women’s hockey team is currently ranked third in the world, while the Indian team is ranked eighth.
Notably, the Indian team left for Adelaide on 14th May and since then it has been training there to get acclimatized to the conditions in Australia. Speaking on the same, captain Savita said, “We are training everyday and even under the lights so that the team get used to the field and circumstances in Adelaide as our matches are scheduled to take place in the evening.”
“We even had our training session this morning, and the team did some gameplay as we are getting ready for our first game tomorrow,” she added.
Meanwhile, Janneke Schopman, the chief coach of the Indian team, said that the team is all geared up to play against Australia.
“Players are excited and ready to take on Australia. The weather is quite nice here. We are feeling good and are ready to show what we’ve been working on in the last couple of weeks,” Schopman said.
Interestingly, the India defeated Australia 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. It was a historic victory for the Indian team as it was competing in only its third Olympics and qualified for the quarters for the first time, while Australia were three-time gold medallists.
The Indian team also fought hard against Australia in the Commonwealth Games 2022 semifinal match in Birmingham, tying the score at 1-1 at the end of regulation time. However, Australia won the penalty shoot-out 3-0 to make it to the Final, which it lost to England. Meanwhile, India won its third/fourth place match to take the bronze medal home.
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