India take on Australia in five-match hockey test series, first clash on Saturday
The World No. 5 India team will square off against the World No. 1 Australia team in a five-match series beginning on Saturday in Adelaide. The two teams faced off twice since 2020, both times at the Olympic Games in Tokyo when India took home a historic bronze medal and Australia a silver.
They also competed against each other in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games final, which Australia won. Graham Reid, the head coach of India's men's hockey team, stated of the Series: "There is no better place to come than Australia for preparation for the World Cup."
"Australia's way of play is very grounded in India. What's great about this series is that both teams get to learn about the different skills that both bring to the table," Reid made this comment at an Adelaide pre-game news conference.
Captain Harmanpreet Singh emphasised that each game against Australia would be crucial in their preparations for the major event at home, the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar - Rourkela, which will take place in less than 50 days.
"This series is really important for us. When you are preparing for a mega event like the World Cup, it's always good to play against the best in the lead up," The expert dragflicker who would be the focus of India's PC attack emphasised this.
He further stated his excitement of playing in Adelaide. "It is great to be in Australia after so many years gap. Due to covid we couldn't travel here, there are many passionate Indian hockey fans here and we always love playing in front of them. I am looking forward to good matches here," Harmanpreet stated.
The seasoned Australian Head Coach Colin Batch, who was in attendance at the press conference, stated, "This series is really important for us coming up to the World Cup in January. It's great that India are here. We love playing against them and this will be great competition for us."
"It will be great competition for us. India is a really strong team and these will be the only matches we will play before the World Cup, so we're delighted to have a team of India's calibre to play against," added Batch.
"We feel like we can take some strong steps in our preparation for the World Cup. Unlike the Olympics where we had 6-7 months training together, we haven't had that leading up to the World Cup so the importance of these matches, the meetings and trainings we have between now and then will hopefully enable us to reach that level again," Batch opined.
Match 1 - Saturday 26 November (1100hrs IST)
Match 2 - Sunday 27 November (1100hrs IST)
Match 3 - Wednesday 30 November (1330 hrs IST)
Match 4 - Saturday 3 December (1100hrs IST)
Match 5 - Sunday 4 December (1100hrs IST)
Where to watch?
You can catch all the LIVE action on Star Sports First, Star Sports Select 1 SD and Star Sports Select 1 HD.
Alternatively, you can also LIVE stream all the matches on Disney+Hotstar.