In the run-up to the Olympic qualifier next month, Indian women's hockey team will try out as many combinations as it can in the four-match Test series against Azerbaijan to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here from Sunday.
Literally it will be a test for the home players as some of them are making a comeback from injuries and fitness related issues. Coach C.R. Kumar said he would try at least 32 players to get the best possible squad for the qualifier, scheduled from February 18 to 26.
Some experienced players are returning to action after a layoff while a few others are recovering from fractures in hands. “There are no major injuries, only some minor issues are there,” said Kumar on Saturday.
“It will be an opportunity how they sustain the intensity,” he added.
Kumar said the focus would be on scoring more field goals. “In recent tournaments we had missed a lot of scoring chances. The optimum priority will be to see the strikers score.”
He said since all major teams were busy for the Champions Trophy in Argentina, India had to play with 15th-ranked Azerbaijan.
Captain Asunta Lakra hoped it would be a good outing against Azerbaijan, which it had played twice in the Champions Challenge in Ireland in June last. India had won the matches 7-2 and 3-1.
Azerbaijan, which plays its Olympic qualifier in Japan in April, looks forward to start its preparation with the series against 13th-ranked India.
Keywords: Indian hockey