India’s match against Australia important: Captain Ritu

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Hastings (New Zealand), April 8 (IANS) Just a couple of days away from the start of the Hawke’s Bay Cup, Indian women’s hockey team captain Ritu Rani has said that their pool match against Australia will be an important one.

India have been placed in Pool A with China, the United States and Australia in the April 11-19 tournament. India will meet China (April 11) on the opening day before taking on the US (April 12) and Australia (April 14). All eight teams will directly qualify for the quarterfinals then.

“The team is in good shape and we are excited for the tournament. While we will keep it simple, play to our strengths, but attack will be the key. With Rani and Poonam’s experience and speed, I am sure we will give a tough time to the opponents’ defence. Also Anuradha Thockchom will add the required boost to our attack,” Ritu said on Wednesday.

“While we will use our clash against Australia to analyse our weaknesses, we will also try and take the matches to understand how their players fare when put under pressure. It will be a two-way opportunity for the teams as the upcoming tournament in June is important for every participating team.”

June will see the World League Semi-Final take place where India have been placed in Group B with Australia, New Zealand, Belgium and Poland. With Australia and New Zealand playing the Hawke’s Bay Cup, India will get the opportunity to understand their loopholes before playing them later in the year.

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