The Indian women's hockey team will look to put its best foot forward when it kick-starts its Asian Games preparation against world number three Australia in a five-match tour in Adelaide on Thursday. (More Hockey News)
The Indians will play the first three matches against Australia's senior side on May 18, 20 and 21 before taking on Australia 'A' on May 25 and 27 at the Mate Stadium.
Led by experienced goalkeeper Savita, the eighth-ranked visitors would look to get a fair idea about where they stand and what needs to be corrected to win the Hangzhou Asian Games, scheduled from September 23 to October 8 this year, and earn a direct ticket to Paris Olympics.
Savita will have defender Deep Grace Ekka as her deputy.
The Indians arrived here four days in advance to get acclimatised to the conditions.
"We are training every day and even under the lights so that the team get used to the field and circumstances in Adelaide as our matches are scheduled to take place in the evening," Savita said.
"We even had our training session this morning, and the team did some gameplay."
The Indians would take heart from their recent performances against the mighty Aussies.
India defeated three-time Olympic gold medallists Australia 1-0 in the quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics. The two teams also met in the 2022 Commonwealth Games semi-finals in Birmingham, which Australia won in a penalty shoot-out.
"Players are excited and ready to take on Australia. The weather is quite nice here. We are feeling good and are ready to show what we've been working on in the last couple of weeks," India's chief coach Janneke Schopman said.
May 18: India vs Australia at 14:15 IST
May 20: India vs Australia at 14:15 IST
May 21: India vs Australia at 13:45 IST
May 25: India vs Australia A at 14:15 IST
May 27: India vs Australia A at 14:15 IST.