Canberra (Australia), Dec 3: Indian junior women's hockey team will aim to start their three-nations tournament campaign with a win as they face New Zealand in their opening match, here on Wednesday.
The three-nations tournament taking place in the Canberra will see the hosts, New Zealand and India play four matches each between December 03- 08. The Indian team, under Coach Baljeet Saini, will be aiming to utilise the much-needed exposure of playing two top teams in different conditions.
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 his team to make the most of their opportunities of playing competitive hockey.
'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 starting the tournament tomorrow against New Zealand,' said the Coach.
The Indian junior women's team has not played against New Zealand recently, and the coach will be keeping his eyes on the Australia - New Zealand fixture on Tuesday to get a better idea of their opponents.
'We have not come across New Zealand in any tournaments that we have participated in, in the past 3-4 years. Therefore, I will be watching the opening match between Australia and New Zealand today, and will analyse their style of play, and then speak to my team during our meetings this evening and tomorrow morning before the match. I am expecting a good run of four matches against these two sides, and it will be a good test,' he said.
With their sights set on the AHF Women's Junior Asia Cup 2020 and the next FIH Junior Women's World Cup, the Indian team will end their year with the four matches here which will take place on December 4 against New Zealand, December 5 against Australia, December 7 against New Zealand and December 8 against Australia. (UNI)