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India to host Netherlands
December 07, 2003 18:59 IST
India will finally get a chance to lock horns with Olympic hockey champions Netherlands at home in February next year but it will be a three-Test affair instead of five as planned earlier.
The three Tests would be held in Hyderabad on February 5, 7 and 8, said a source in the Indian Hockey Federation.
"The dates have been confirmed by the IHF and its Dutch counterpart," he said.
It would be the first time in 26 years that India would be hosting the European giants in a one-to-one series.
India are scheduled to play in the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia from January 8 to 15 before the all-important Olympic qualifiers in Madrid in March.
The series with the Dutch is just the kind of preparation India was keen for in their build-up to the Olympic qualifiers.
The Netherlands were originally scheduled to play five Tests in late January but the series had to be put off after the Champions Trophy winners said they were unable to undertake the trip due to "developments relating to team management".
The Dutch team was thrown into turmoil after six senior players boycotted their chief coach Joost Bellaart who resigned at the end of October.
Bellaart has been replaced by former Australian player and national coach Terry Walsh.