The Indian junior women’s hockey team will look to begin its campaign on a positive note against New Zealand in its opening match of the Three-Nation tournament in Canberra on Wednesday.
Besides India and New Zealand, the tournament will also feature hosts Australia.
For the Baljeet Saini-coached Indian team, the tournament is an opportunity to gain the much-needed exposure of playing two top teams of the world.
The team is scheduled to take part in the AHF Women’s Junior Asia Cup next year to be held in Japan, and Saini is expecting the side to make the most out of the tournament.
“Our target in the next year is to perform well at the AHF Women’s Junior Asia Cup which will take place in 2020. This group of players has been training with us for a fair amount of time now, and to have the opportunity of playing in Australia against two top teams is a great way to prepare for the upcoming year,” said Saini.
“We are also hoping that these four matches will give us a good idea of how the team is shaping up in terms of dealing with different scenarios that you face during a match.
“We have a very talented bunch of players, some of which have even represented the senior team recently, and I am really looking forward to our first match against New Zealand,” he added.
The Indian team has not played New Zealand recently, and the coach will be keeping a close eye on Tuesday’s Australia-New Zealand fixture to get a fair idea of their opponents.
“We have not come across New Zealand in any tournaments that we have participated in the past 3-4 years. Therefore, I will be watching the opening match between Australia and New Zealand and will analyse their style of play. I am expecting a good run of four matches against these two sides. It will be a good test,” Saini said.
India will play Australia on December 5, New Zealand on December 7 and Australia again on December 8.