As part of their preparations for next year’s Olympic Games, India will compete against New Zealand in a six-match hockey Test series from October 2 to 11 in Auckland, Nelson and Christchurch.
“While India will play the first two matches against the New Zealand A team the last four matches will be played against the New Zealand senior men’s team,” Hockey India said in a statement.
For India, the Tour will be in preparation for the all-important FIH Hockey World League Final to be held in Raipur later this year, followed by the Rio Olympics slated in 2016. New Zealand, on the other hand, will seek to prepare for the upcoming Oceania Cup wherein a win there would confirm a berth for them in the Rio Olympics 2016.
After a successful Europe Tour in August, where India defeated France and Spain, the Indian team is upbeat and expects positive results from the tour.
Indian players are going through training in New Delhi and getting ready for the series.
In June 2015, New Zealand playing in the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Final in Argentina finished sixth after a loss against Canada in the quarter-final match.
With another defeat against Spain in 5th-6th Classification Match, New Zealand missed the opportunity to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
However, New Zealand still has a chance to qualify for the Olympics if they win the 2015 Oceania Cup, which will be held at their home-turf coming October and hence their clash against India will be an important ground to gear up for the upcoming challenge.
Speaking on the Tour, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “The series was planned keeping in mind the upcoming important tournaments that are lined up for the Indian team.
“Series like this will help our team to understand the continuing changing game style of the opposition and this helps us to further work on our strategies. The team is very excited and are looking forward to continue their good form in the series.”
Malcolm Harris, Hockey New Zealand Chief Executive said, “We are very excited about this upcoming series – it’s the first time since 2009 that India Men have toured New Zealand. Our fans can’t wait to welcome India – it’s a great chance for Kiwis to see world-class hockey here in New Zealand.
“It also provides the Black Sticks Men with some strong competition ahead of the important Oceania Cup (Stratford, 21-25 October).”