The India ‘A’ men and women’s hockey teams will begin their campaign at the 2017 Australian Hockey League in Perth on Friday. While the men’s team, led by Vikas Dahiya, will take on Western Australia in their Pool B encounter, the women’s team, captained by Preeti Dubey, will play against Victoria in their opening match in Pool B.
Having arrived here on Sunday, the teams have had the required time to get used to the playing conditions at the venue. “Since we arrived on Sunday, we got a good number of practice sessions here along with two practice matches that has set the momentum for the team,” stated V Baskaran, coach for the India ‘A’ men’s team.
In their two practice matches against Victoria, also the defending champions, and Queensland, India ‘A’ men’s team drew 2-2 and 0-0 respectively. It was forward Affan Yousuf and dragflicker Amit Rohidas who scored for the team in the first match.
It’s the team’s positive approach and hunger to give their 100 per cent in all areas is what gives them the edge, feels Baskaran. “This set of men bring great energy on the pitch. I believe if we play our best hockey, results will follow. The team has been in a positive frame of mind and we are looking forward to our first game on Friday,” Baskaran said.
The women’s team, on the other hand, is eager to learn from the exposure of playing in the prestigious AHL. In their first practice match, the India ‘A’ women drew with New South Wales 0-0 and lost their second match 0-1 to Australian Capital Territory.
“The team will play with no pressure of expectations as it’s important for this young team to soak in the experience of playing top quality teams in the tournament and stand up to the challenge. I am looking forward to seeing how the team shapes up through the League,” expressed Baljeet Singh Saini, coach of the India ‘A’ women’s team.