India’s Oltmans cautious ahead of HWL Final

Raipur, Nov 25 (IANS) Indian chief coach and technical director Roelant Oltmans is hoping for a good performance from his players when the Hockey World League (HWL) Final 2015 starts at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Stadium here on Friday.

India had lost the recent three-match Test series against Australia which was meant to be a warm-up for this tournament. But Oltmans asserted that playing against the reigning world champions has helped the Indians to rectify their weaknesses.

“We are taking one match at a time. The India-Australia series is over and now it’s the past. We have moved on from there and now all our efforts are focused on giving a good performance at the Hero Hockey World League,” Oltmans said after a practice session here on Wednesday.

“The good news is that all our players are fit and there is no injury in the team, which just gives us a lot of confidence ahead of our first encounter,” he added.

India will face Argentina in the opening match of the tournament which ends on December 6. The match against World No.5 Argentina is expected to be a tough one for the sixth ranked Indians. But experienced defender V.R. Raghunath asserted that the hosts are ready for the challenge.

“It’s been a good preparation for us at the Australia series, and we have warmed up to take on the best at the Hero Hockey World League Final. The whole team wants to see the best results but we also know that every game is different and results cannot be predicted, hence our efforts are to work as a collective unit so that we peak at the right time,” the 27-year-old penalty corner specialist said.

“All the eight teams will be playing in the quarter-finals and no team is an easy team and we are preparing accordingly, as we know that we are up to face the best seven teams in the world,” Raghunath added.

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