Asia Cup 2022 | India to open campaign against Pakistan, skipper Birendra Lakra optimistic of team's chances
Olympic Bronze medalist Birendra Lakra-led Indian Men's Hockey Team left for Jakarta, Indonesia where they will defend the Hero Men's Asia Cup title. The Indian team is up against Japan, Pakistan, and Indonesia in Pool A while Malaysia, Korea, Oman, and Bangladesh are in Pool B.
India will kick off their campaign on opening day against Pakistan. Speaking about the team's excitement, Birendra said, "The team is definitely excited. The Asia Cup is a very prestigious tournament and we will have quite a few players who will be experiencing this tournament for the first time so naturally, the mood is quite upbeat in the team."
Talking about the team's preparations so far, Lakra said, "Our camp in SAI Bengaluru was quite tough and very fruitful. While we got to know more about each player's strengths and improved our on-field communication, Sardar (Coach) was also very particular about our fitness," Lakra added.
In the previous edition held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2017, India had defeated Malaysia in the Final to lift the title. Reflecting his thoughts on his team's prospects this year, Lakra said, "We just want to take it one match at a time, definitely there will be a lot of tense nerves ahead of the first match against Pakistan but we will focus on our own game and get on from there," he said.
The Indian team will arrive in Jakarta on Friday, 20th May. On Monday, 23rd May India will play Pakistan at 1700 hrs IST. Matches will be live on Star Sports first + Select 2 + HD and on Disney + Hotstar