India Ready For Litmus Test At Asian Champions Trophy 2023
The long wait is almost over as the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 is all set to commence on Thursday
The long wait is almost over as the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 is all set to commence on Thursday with thousands of hockey fans waiting to soak up the exciting and intriguing moments during the 10-day extravaganza at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Egmore, which last witnessed an international match in 2007. The anticipation is evident with fans gathering at the stadium in the lead-up to the event only to get a glimpse of their favourite hockey stars.
While defending Champions Korea will be the team to watch out for, the reigning Olympic Bronze medal-winning Indian Men's Hockey team will begin as favourites for the title. Riding on their recent outing in Spain, India led by one of the most successful drag flickers in world hockey Harmanpreet Singh will look to begin their campaign on a strong note.
"In tournaments like these, no team can be taken lightly. We are looking forward to these matches and seeing where we stand when we play Asian teams. Of course, we want to win every match and perform well here ahead of the Asian Games." stated the India Captain emphasizing that this tournament is a preparatory test before the real challenge for an Olympic berth in Hangzhou Asian Games.
Adding to the Captain's views, Chief Coach Craig Fulton said, "It is great that we are getting to play these matches ahead of the Asian Games. It gives us the ideal platform to study the other teams and also see how players excel in the roles they have been assigned to execute. We had some very good matches in Spain and a good training block before that in Bengaluru. I am excited and looking forward to the matches here."
India is scheduled to play Japan in their second match on Friday, August 4 followed by their match against Malaysia on Sunday, 6th August. India will play Korea on Monday, August 7 followed by a day's rest before they take on nemesis Pakistan in a highlight-anticipated match on Wednesday, August 9 before going into the knockouts.
"Understandably, there is a lot of excitement around the India-Pakistan matches, be it in cricket or in hockey. Naturally, there will be emotions running high when we play against Pakistan. But, for us, it's just another game and we will go into the match with just one focus to win the game," expressed Harmanpreet.
With the Asian Champions Trophy, a marquee event in the Asian Hockey calendar, being played in India for the first time, the hosts are keen on keeping the record intact in Egmore. "Chennai has been a special venue for the Indian team. In 2007, the team won the Asia Cup. We are eager to play in front of the spectators here and look forward to high-octane matches," Harmanpreet signed off.
On Thursday, August 3, 2023, India will take on China at 2030 hours IST.
Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 will be live on Star Sports and Fancode. It will also be live streamed on watch.hockey for viewing outside of India.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)