Sunday, August 3, 2014

High-on-confidence India lock horns with world champions Australia

The Indian men’s hockey team will have a tough ask of halting the world champions Australia in their tracks when they meet in the final showdown of the Commonwealth Games being played at the National Hockey Center in Glasgow.

Australia will be a formidable opponent to counter in India’s bid to win their first-ever gold at this multi-sport event, but no one can deny that the Terry Walsh-coached side is playing some superb hockey in the tournament and the soaring confidence of the boys must have led to a belief that they can match Australia.

India will be boosted by the return of regular skipper Sardar Singh, who was suspended for the semifinal tie against New Zealand for unbecoming on-field behavior. The fact that India put it across the Black Sticks 3-2 without the services of Sardar Singh after trailing 0-2 for most part of the first half, must have infused a new-found lift in their game making them feel that they can take on the Kookaburras.

The Australia have lost only one match in the Commonwealth Games – going down 2-3 to South Africa in the inaugural edition in Kuala Lumpur and not just India, even higher ranked teams like England and New Zealand have never beaten Australia at this multi-sport event- just indicates the stranglehold the Kookaburras have on this event.

India’s last win against Australia came at the 2010 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where they won 4-3. At the Commonwealth Games, India lost thrice to Australia.

The writer can be contacted at: suhridbarua@gmail.com

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