Bengaluru, May 1 (IANS) Men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh said his teammates are excited at the prospect of taking on New Zealand and Australia in away games as they launch their FIH Hockey Pro League 2021-22 campaign in February.
The FIH announced the schedule for the 2021-22 season on Friday. This year’s edition of the home-and-away League will start on 6 October when reigning women’s world champions, the Netherlands, face Belgium.
“The schedule announcement gives us an opportunity to plan our preparations well in advance. Although right now our focus is on doing well at the Tokyo Olympics and peaking at the right time to succeed there, we now know what needs to be done in the second half of the year where we will need to prepare with the intent to do well against New Zealand and Australia in their home grounds,” Manpreet said.
“They [New Zealand and Australia] are always a very challenging team particularly at home and we are very excited about the prospect of starting our campaign against them,” he said.
This is India’s second outing in the global league.
India who made their debut in the coveted home-and-away global league last year, will take on New Zealand on February 5 in a double-header, followed by matches against Australia on February 12 and 13.
Also in February, India will play Spain (26 and 27), followed by matches against Germany (March 12 and 13) and Argentina (March 19 and 20) at home.
In April, India will take on England (on 2 and 3) at home, followed by away games against Belgium on June 11 and 12 and the Netherlands on June 18 and 19.
“Great to see the fixtures released for the next season of the FIH Pro League. We look forward to once again playing against the best teams in the world after what will have been a challenging year for all concerned,” said men’s hockey chief coach Graham Reid.
“We will begin our assault on the title with a trip to New Zealand and Australia in February. These matches are always tough against tough competitors in what can be often very warm conditions during that time of the year,” he said.