Glasgow, July 28 :
Having registered consecutive victories against Wales and Scotland, India will be hoping to continue their winning spree when they face defending champions Australia in their next group game of the men’s hockey tournament in the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre here Tuesday.
The 0-8 thrashing at the hands of Australia in the 2010 final is still fresh in the minds of the Indian players.
Australia have reigned supreme in hockey ever since the game was introduced in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and the Kookaburras will be determined to prove why they have dominated the game.
Australia will be well aware of the fact that the Indian team will be looking at avenging their last Commonwealth Games defeat and also their World Cup loss.
After their disappointing 9th finish in the World Cup, India have shown signs of improvement. Their 6-2 win in the last game against Scotland was testimony to their improved penalty corner conversions. The comeback of forward Gurwinder Chandi has also boosted the team’s confidence.
Dragflickers V.R. Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh are in form and will be eager to go all out against Australia. With their penalty corner conversion in place, the forward line is also looking good with goal conversions coming at important junctures in the game.
India coach Terry Walsh, an Australian, feels that the game against Australia will prove how much the 2010 silver medallists have improved.
“The Australian round game gives us another opportunity to test ourselves in the areas we believe we have improved. The opponent will test our belief in our abilities. The game will be fast, open and full of tests for individuals and our team. I am confident that our performance will show significant measures of improvement. It is a contest we are all very keen to play,” he said.
Walsh, however, feels that the priority is to get a point from the match.
“However, we also understand that this game is a round game in the tournament where the first objective is to gather the necessary points to play in the semi-finals,” he said.
Captain Sardar Singh also echoed Walsh’s sentiments and said the team was under no pressure.
“The team is under no pressure when they will be facing the opponents tomorrow as the boys are high on self belief. Post the World Cup our main area that we needed improvement in was the penalty corner conversions. In the last two matches the boys have shown remarkable improvement and both Raghunath and Rupinderpal look in great form. I am excited about our clash against Australia tomorrow and confident of delivering a good fight,” he said.