Odisha Sun Times Sports Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 2:
Players of both India and Japan arrived in the Odisha capital yesterday for the Indo-Japan Hockey Test series scheduled to be held at Kalinga Stadium in the city from May 3 to May 9.
Soon after landing here for the four-match series, both the teams got going and practiced in the stadium. The series is considered important and all four matches will be telecast live on DD Sports.
The matches are scheduled to be held on May 3, 5, 7 and 9 at 7 PM. Entry fee has been waived to attract spectators in large numbers.
The state government is leaving no stones unturned to ensure a great tournament. All the preparations and arrangements have been completed so far. Having successfully arranged the Hockey India League in the same stadium recently, the morale of the organizers is quite high.
Ranked lower than India, the Japanese team is taking the series with all seriousness.
“I think the Indian team is pretty big and strong now. They are doing a good teamwork in both attack and defence. They are also ranked higher than us. We know what we are up against and will give it our best shot,” said a Japanese player.
The Indian team arrived here after wrapping up a nine-day preparatory camp in New Delhi and sounded quite optimistic about their performance as well.
“The India-Japan Test series is important for us as it is a good opportunity to build our team for the Hockey World League semi-final in Belgium. In this series, all the players will get enough chances to improve their skills and work on their weaknesses. For the last few days, we had been practicing hard in New Delhi and now we have to implement the strategies on the field. We all are in good shape and are hoping for positive results,” said local lad and member of the national squad Birendra Lakra.