Bhubaneswar: The Olympics-bound Indian men’s hockey team will kick-start its preparations for the quadrennial showpiece when it debuts in the FIH Pro League against world No.3 the Netherlands here on Saturday.
After having missed the first edition of the event, India will take on the 2019 Pro League and European bronze medal winners, the Netherlands, in two matches in their opening tie at the Kalinga Stadium here. The second match will be played on Sunday.
With all the top teams of the world in fray, the home-and-away Pro League will be ideal preparation for world No.5 India ahead of the Summer Games later this year.
After the Dutch side, India will host world champions Belgium on February 8 and 9 followed by two more home fixtures against Australia on February 22 and 23.
The Indian team will then leave for the away games in Germany (April 25 and 26) and Great Britain (May 2 and 3). India will return to play on home soil on May 23 and 24 against New Zealand before travelling to Argentina to play on June 5 and 6. The Manpreet Singh-led side will play the last leg of the Pro League round-robin matches in Spain on June 13 and 14.
India’s head coach Graham Reid will be aware of the challenges that await his team in the Pro League opener.
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