India To Host NZ, Spain In FIH Hockey 2022/23 Opener

The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will begin its FIH Hockey Pro League 2022/23 campaign against New Zealand and Spain as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced the schedule of the fourth edition of the tournament on Thursday.

India will host New Zealand and Spain in the tournament opener between October 28 and November 6 later this year.

The season, which will run from October 28, 2022, to July 5, 2023, will be divided into a series of date blocks, agreed by all parties, to assist with international and domestic competition planning, within which “mini-tournaments” will be played where several teams will gather in one venue to play two matches against each other.

This move will have a major positive impact on players’ welfare and the environment, thanks to a substantial reduction in the amount of travel needed for each team and the officials. Another great advantage of this revised format is that it increases the number of dates available for athletes to compete in their domestic leagues and club competitions.

The Indian team will play New Zealand in the first match on October 28, followed by the second match against Spain on October 30. They will play their return leg matches against New Zealand and Spain on November 4 and 6, respectively. Both the visitors New Zealand and Spain will also play a doubleheader against each other on October 29 and November 5.

Sharing his thoughts on the FIH Pro League 2022/23 schedule, the Indian Men’s Hockey Chief Coach Graham Reid stated, “Interesting to see the 22-23 Pro League schedule released today. As far as our draw is concerned, it is well spaced out and provides us with practice opportunity before the 2023 World Cup.”

In March 2023, India will play Germany and Australia at home. They will face off against Germany on March 10 and after a day’s break they will take on Australia in their first match of the two-legged tie. The second-leg matches against both Germany and Australia will be played on March 13 and 15 respectively. Germany and Australia too will play their FIH Pro League tie against each other in India.

In what appears to be an action-paced Olympic cycle, India will tour to Europe in May and June 2023 for their away matches against the teams like reigning Olympic Champions Belgium (May 26 and June 2), Great Britain (May 27 and June 3), Netherlands (June 7 and 10) and Argentina (June 8 and 11).

Reid opined that it’s good development of utilising multiple teams in one location.

“FIH is using the experience of utilising multiple teams in one location from this year, to provide more of a traditional tournament feel. I think it’s is a good development. This will also provide a different tactical preparation between games where traditionally the games against the same team are back to back,” he said. (ANI)

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