Guwahati, Tuesday, March 19, 2019
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Indian hockey team eyes strong start

 BENGALURU, March 18: The Indian men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh feels the team has learnt its lessons from the World Cup debacle last year and is geared up for a positive start to the season at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Speaking to the media before leaving for Ipoh on Sunday night, Manpreet said the side has prepared itself for the hot and humid weather in Ipoh by having noon practice sessions at the national camp here.

“We are quite eager to make a positive start as it will give us the right momentum ahead of the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019. We have worked really hard in the camp, often training at noon to get used to playing in the hot and humid weather conditions,” Manpreet.

India begin their campaign against Japan on March 23 and will be looking to continue their winning form against the side, who they last met during the Hero Asian Champions Trophy last year.

“We will be playing the Asian Games Champions Japan in the opening match and we will have to be at our best to beat them. We have a lot of youngsters in the team, it will be a great test for them and us as a unit,” stated Manpreet who will have Surender Kumar as deputy.

The Indian team will play their second game against Korea on March 24 while they take on nemesis and Asian Games silver-medallists Malaysia on March 26.

“Though we are the highest ranked team in the tournament, we cannot get ahead of ourselves and have to take one match at a time rather than thinking directly about the final as we have some tough encounters to begin with.” – PTI

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