Indian men’s hockey team captain PR Sreejesh says the upcoming FIH Champions Trophy, which will feature all the top teams of the world, could provide a reality check ahead of the season-ending World Cup.
Having finished second best in the last edition, Indian men’s hockey team would want to go one step ahead this time, but Sreejesh is looking at the event in a different way.
The 18-member Indian team will leave for Breda, Netherlands later tonight to take part in the last edition of the Champions Trophy, to be held from June 23 to July 1.
With hosts The Netherlands, Argentina, Pakistan, Belgium and defending champions Australia in the fray, the tournament will be a litmus test for India ahead of the World Cup, to be held in Bhubaneswar later this year.
“Though right now our immediate goal is to do well in this tournament, there is no doubt the Champions Trophy will be a reality check for us to see where we stand among other top teams especially ahead of the World Cup,” said Sreejesh ahead of the team’s departure.
“It is the final edition of Champions Trophy and I am sure every team would want to make it memorable. It will be a challenging tournament with back-to-back matches and winning those three points from each game will be the only thing on our minds.”
India, who had won a historic silver medal in the previous edition in London, will begin their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 23 but Sreejesh said it is just another game for them despite the hype around the high-profile encounter.
“For us, the match against Pakistan is just another game where we will be looking to win three points. In this tournament every single match is crucial if we want to see ourselves in the title round because the first two teams on top of the points table will play the final,” said the custodian Sreejesh.