Australia, ranked World No 3, is poised to dream big and goes into the Four Nations’ Invitational Tournament by wearing the favourites tag at the Marrara Hockey Centre in Darwin.
The tournament, seen as preparation for the Champions Trophy in London from 18-27 June and Rio Olympics, will also feature fourth-ranked New Zealand, world No. 10 Japan and India, currently ranked World No 13.
The Black Sticks open their campaign against India on May 31 (Tuesday) while the Hockeyroos’ entertain Japan next. The final has been scheduled on June 5.
Defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam leads a 17-member Indian team in the tournament in the absence of captain Ritu Rani, who has been rested.
The other members of the Indian squad are senior players Poonam Rani and Vanadana Kataria while among the juniors are defender Nikki Pradhan and midfielder Preeti Dubey. Preeti, 18, was recently awarded the Asunta Lakra Upcoming Player of the Year Award (Women U-21) during Hockey India Annual Awards.
The stand-in Indian captain said it has been an honour to lead the team in the Four Nations’ Invitational Tournament.
“We have already faced Japan and New Zealand earlier at the Hawke’s Bay Cup. Our mission is to perform well against Japan and Australia and analyse their game since they are in same group as us at the Olympics,” said Sushila.
The Four Nations test series is part of a three-year agreement the NT Government has signed with Hockey Australia, which includes further test matches in 2017 and 2018.
There is great optimism that the Four Nations Tournament will be expanded to eight teams competing in the coming years.
Tune in to https://t.co/rcsv4F2hLj at 12:30 PM IST to cheer for the Indian Eves in their clash vs the @BlackSticks! pic.twitter.com/E3JA06LTpu
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) May 31, 2016
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