Free Press Journal

Australia test awaits Sardar & Co in Glasgow CWG


Glasgow: With two easy victories under their belt, a confident India will face their first real test in the men’s hockey event when they take on world champions and title holders Australia in the next group match at the 20th Commonwealth Games, here tomorrow.

Ninth ranked India started their campaign in the ongoing Games on a positive note, beating world no. 31 Wales 3-1 before spanking 25th ranked Scotland 6-2 in their opening two Group A matches.

But for the first time the Sardar Singh-led side would be tested in the competition as, in Australia a formidable and ruthless opponent awaits them tomorrow.

Going by rankings and present form, the Kookaburras are way ahead of India at the world stage.

In the last head to head meeting at this year’s World Cup, the Indians were spanked 0-4 by Australia, who went on to win the title beating Netherlands 6-2 in the final.

Come tomorrow, the Indians would need a magical effort and some divine intervention if they want to upstage the Kookaburras, unarguably the best team in world at the moment.

The match would also provide India a chance to avenge their 0-8 drubbing at the hands of Australia in the final of the last edition of Games in New Delhi.

But it is easier said than done as Australia completely belong to a different league as compared to the Indians, who boast of rich history in the sport, having won eight Olympic golds in the past.

The Indians could take heart from the performance of their penalty corner specialists — V R Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh — who returned among goals after drawing a blank sheet in the World Cup.

Both Raghunath and Rupinder had so far scored three goals apiece from two outings, which includes a brace each against Scotland in their last game. And the Indians would be hoping similar performances from the duo, if not better in the remainder of the Games.