The Indian men's hockey team will begin the new season of FIH Hockey Pro League against New Zealand and Spain, the world governing body (FIH) said on Thursday, announcing the schedule of the fourth edition of its ambitious tournament. (More Hockey News)
India will host New Zealand and Spain in the tournament opener between October 28 and November 6 later this year. India will play New Zealand in the first match on October 28, followed by the second game against Spain on October 30.
The Indians will play their return leg matches against New Zealand and Spain on October 4 and 6 respectively. In between, both New Zealand and Spain will also play a double-header against each other on October 29 and November 5.
“Interesting to see the 2022-23 Pro League schedule released today. As far as our draw is concerned, it is well spaced out and provides us with practice opportunity before the 2023 World Cup,” Indian men's hockey team chief coach Graham Reid said.
In March next year, India will play Germany and Australia at home. India will face off against Germany on March 10 and after a day's break will take on Australia in their first match of the two-legged tie.
The second-leg matches against both Germany and Australia will be played on March 13 and 15 respectively. Germany and Australia too will play their FIH Pro League tie against each other in India.
In what appears to be an action-paced Olympic cycle, India will next embark on a tour to Europe for their away matches against reigning Olympic Champions Belgium (May 26 and June 2), Great Britain (May 27 and June 3), Netherlands (June 7 and 10) and Argentina (June 8 and 11).
Reid lauded FIH for its effort to cut down on travelling, terming the new schedule a "good development" for the league. “FIH is using the experience of utilising multiple teams in one location from this year, to provide more of a traditional tournament feel,” he said.
“I think it's is a good development. This will also provide a different tactical preparation between games where traditionally the games against the same team are back-to-back.”