The Indian hockey team has no injury issues ahead of the Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2 to be held at the National Stadium here from February 18 to 24.
“Most of the players have played a good number of matches (in HIL). All of them are fit and there are no injuries,” said Indian captain Sardar Singh.
Sardar said the players, especially the younger ones, were pumped up after their good showing in the HIL. “Earlier, we never had a chance to play alongside the Australian and European players. Now, everyone’s confidence level is high,” he said.
The captain, however, agreed that the present form of both the goalkeepers, P.R. Sreejesh and P.T. Rao, was a bit of a concern.
Sardar said if the host, ranked 11th in the world, played to potential, it would not be difficult to achieve the target of finishing inside the top two and qualify for the next round of the HWL. Ireland (No.15), one of the contenders for the qualifying slots, hit the turf in the morning after arriving here late on Thursday night. Despite teething constraints, including a funds crunch and lack of adequate training facilities due to heavy snowfall in the country, the team has made its best efforts to build up for the event.
Under new coach Andrew Meredith, Ireland, which finished third in Champions Challenge I in December, played a few practice matches against Malaysia before reaching here.
“We lost. But those games were good for us, very competitive. We made silly errors, but that is part of the build-up process,” said Meredith.
Oman (36) also began its practice while other teams — China (18), Bangladesh (40) and Fiji (71) — will start their preparations on Saturday.