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India’s quest for men’s hockey gold begins with clash against Pakistan

Gold Coast, April 6: India’s mens hockey team will begin its campaign at the XXI Commonwealth Games with a pulsating Pool B clash against arch-rivals Pakistan here on Saturday.
For the Manpreet Singh-led Indian team, 2018 is an important year, filled with multiple high-profile tourments, with the CWG being the first target of the year. India had lost to Australia in the fils of the 2010 and 2014 editions of the CWG and this time, their aim is again to go the full distance.
“Currently, we are not thinking about how important this year is especially with the World Cup in Bhubaneswar being held in front of home crowd. The only thing we have on our minds right now is our first match against Pakistan on Saturday,” asserted the 25-year-old Manpreet.
The Indian team is grouped in Pool B also with Malaysia, Wales and England. Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said: “For me, it is about focusing match-by-match, which means we build our rhythm and performance improving upon the little things or areas that has concerned us. We played practice matches against South Africa and Cada and every match we were better and played with good structure.
“It was important that we mage the intensity and mind set during these matches, so we are hungry for the ball in our first match against Pakistan,” stated the 43-year-old Dutchman.
Over the past two years, an India vs Pakistan clash has lost steam from being a blockbuster encounter that it once was. India, Asia’s undoubtedly best team at the moment, has domited in all the six encounters winning by convincing margins. IANS

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Ankur Kalita