The Indian men’s hockey team will be up against some tough challenges when they take on Olympic champions Argentina at the resumption of the FIH Pro League next month.
India’s captain Manpreet Singh is also back as they are scheduled to play their FIH Pro League ties on April 11 and 12, and will also play four practice games to keep the players in shape. All fixtures will be played at the CeNARD sports complex in Buenos Aires. Two practice matches will be played on April 6 and 7 ahead of their ties and then the other two will be played on April 13 and 14. Head coach Graham Reid has selected a 22-man squad for the 16-day long tour.
It is a very welcome addition to India’s ranks as their skipper Manpreet Singh is back. He missed the European tour where India faced the likes of Germany and Great Britain due to personal reasons.
Ahead of the matches, head coach Graham Reid is very much wary of the different challenge that Argentina will put up especially at their home. He feels that this will be a great opportunity for the Indian team to prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
“Argentina plays a different style of game to the teams we played in Europe, and we will be using this tour as a great opportunity to continue our growth and development before Tokyo 2020,” the Indian chief coach Graham Reid told Hockey India.
“To play the Olympic champions in their own country is especially challenging. These games will provide opportunities to hone our skills and tactics in a period where all teams have been starved of international competition.”
The Australian coach has included all the likely players who have been performing up to the standards of the Indian team. There will be a lot of expectations from drag-flick experts in Rupinderpal Singh, Mandeep Singh and Birendra Lakra. While the experienced players in Akashdeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh and Ramandeep Singh have been rested.
“We are taking a 22-man squad attempting to provide a good balance between giving experience to those players who need it and opportunities for players to perform on the international stage in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics,” the 56-year-old tactician concluded.