Fresh from their two week tour of Japan, with a one win, two loss, one draw record, the Vantage Black Sticks Men have settled into their new accommodation in Bangalore, India and are readying themselves for the three test series against what will be a fired up Indian side.
The teams have faced off several times in 2018, with India touring NZ in January competing in the University of Waikato Men’s 4 Nations International Series, as well as the famous win against them for the Black Sticks in the Commonwealth Games semi-final on the Gold Coast, that took New Zealand to the final, eventuating to a silver medal.
There will be some new blood in the Kiwi ranks for the India leg with injuries to Dylan Thomas (thigh) and David Brydon (hand) who have since returned home and have been replaced by recent debutante Kieran O’Connor, who will carry on with the squad, and newbie Malachi Buschl, the 18 year old Southern midfielder, who joins the team on debut.
“After a challenging couple of weeks in Japan, we’re turning our attention to Bangalore to take on the challenge that is India. Our initial intention was to play these matches in Bhubaneswar to look at the set up for the World Cup later in the year but the stadium there is still under construction”, commented Darren Smith, Vantage Black Sticks Men’s head coach.
The team were under no illusions it was a tough assignment, “India are firing at the moment after a good runner up performance at the Champions Trophy and, like Japan, are in full preparation for next months Asia Games, which is their direct qualifying tournament for Tokyo 2020. We’re looking forward to matching up against them.
“It’s great to have these new young players in the squad. We’re looking forward to seeing what they can do under pressure and they’re excited to be here, and pulling on the black shirt”.
VANTAGE BLACK STICKS V INDIA – BANGALORE
Game 1 July 19 NZ Vs India 10:30pm (NZ time)
Game 2 July 21 NZ Vs India 10:30pm (NZ time)
Game 3 July 22 NZ Vs India 10:30pm (NZ time)