Thursday, July 17, 2014

Commonwealth Games: India to play practice games against England, New Zealand

The Indian senior men’s hockey team will play two practice games and England and New Zealand in a bid to fine-tune their preparations for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games beginning July 23. The 9th Indians should be well served by the two practice games as their opposition are ranked fifth and sixth in the world respectively.

England, it may be recalled are on a high, having recently won the Four Nation London Investec Cup featuring Ireland, South Africa and Scotland.

India are pitted in Pool A alongside Wales, Scotland, Australia and South Africa. India launch their Commonwealth Games campaign against 31st ranked Wales – the lowest ranked team in the men’s competition – on July 25.

The Sardar Singh-led side then face 25th ranked Scotland the next day. The Blueshirts have a two-day rest before locking horns with reigning champions and world number one Australia on July 29. India will wind up their league engagements against 12th ranked South Africa on July 31.

The Pool B comprises 5th ranked England, 6th ranked New Zealand, 13th ranked Malaysia, 16th ranked Canada and 29th ranked Trinidad & Tobago.

It may be mentioned here that the Rajpal Singh-led Indians had finished runners-up in the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, where they suffered a 0-8 humiliation at the hands of Australia in a ridiculously one-sided summit showdown.

India will be looking to build on their positives from their 9th place finish in the 2014 World Cup, where they even toppled higher ranked Korea in a classification tie.

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