Australian challenge awaits Savita Co

Adelaide, May 17

The Indian women’s hockey team will look to put its best foot forward as it begins its Asian Games preparations with a five-match tour of Australia here tomorrow.

India will play three matches against world No. 3 Australia on May 18, 20 and 21 before taking on Australia ‘A’ on May 25 and 27.

Led by experienced goalkeeper Savita, the world No. 8 India would look to get a fair idea about where they stand ahead of the Hangzhou Asian Games, scheduled from September 23 to October 8. The Asian Games gold will earn India a direct ticket to the Paris Olympics.

Savita will have defender Deep Grace Ekka as her deputy. The Indians arrived here four days in advance to get acclimatised to the conditions. “We are training every day and even under the lights so that the team can get used to the field and conditions here as our matches are scheduled to take place in the evenings,” Savita said.

India’s chief coach Janneke Schopman said: “The players are excited and ready to take on Australia. The weather is quite nice here. We are feeling good and are ready to show what we’ve been working on in the last couple of weeks.”

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