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India's hockey matches in Great Britain postponed

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Harish Kotian
April 21, 2021 14:32 IST
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IMAGE: The FIH Hockey Pro League matches between India and Great Britain were postponed after the UK government added India to its COVID-19 travel 'red list' on Monday. Photograph: Hockey India/Facebook

The FIH Hockey Pro League matches between India and Great Britain, scheduled for May 8-9 in London, were on Wednesday postponed following the UK government's decision to add India to the travel 'red list'.

 

"FIH, Hockey India and Great Britain Hockey are monitoring the evolution of the situation in the hope of rearranging these matches at a later date," a FIH release said.

India will still travel to Europe in May to play the Pro League matches against Spain (May 15-16) and Germany (May 22-23) while Great Britain will host Germany (May 12-13), USA (Women, May 22-23) and Spain (Men, May 22-23).

Australia and New Zealand are continuing their efforts to find a date for the matches between them following the announcement of a trans-Tasman travel bubble this week.

The UK government added India to its COVID-19 travel 'red list' on Monday. From April 23 onwards, UK residents arriving from India will have to quarantine in a hotel for 11 nights, while others from India will not be able to travel to the UK at all.

India have recorded a total of 2,95,041 fresh infections in the last 24 hours while the active cases crossed the 21-lakh mark.

Argentina tour was important in build up to Olympics: Nilakanta

The successful tour of Argentina has given the Indian men's hockey team momentum going into the Tokyo Olympics, says attacking mid-fielder Nilakanta Sharma.

India won two of their practice games and won both their FIH Pro League encounters against the reigning Olympic Champions Argentina earlier this month.

"The Argentina tour was an important experience for all of us. We were yearning for proper match practice while building up towards the Olympics," Nilakanta said in a Hockey India release.

"Our preparations for the Olympics started last year in the FIH Pro League, where we fared well against World Champions Belgium, Netherlands and Australia.

"We also had a solid tour of Europe earlier this year. That gave us the confidence that we could face the best teams and come out on top," he added.

The Indian men's team had remained unbeaten in the tour of Europe last month. Making an impressive return to international hockey, India had outclassed Germany 6-1 before playing out a 1-1 draw against them.

In the two games against Great Britain, India were held to a 1-1 draw before they ended the tour with a 3-2 victory.

"What we saw in Argentina was a result of a lot of hard during training sessions. The more we played with each other, our game improved.

"Conversations with Chief Coach Graham Reid have been open. He has been approachable from day one and has given me a very clear idea about my role in the team."

Nilakanta scored India's first goal of the Argentina tour, and followed the effort with an assist in the second practice match.

"I have learned to stay calm and composed in pressure situations. I feel we combine well...captain Manpreet, Dilpreet and Hardik. We have a very good understanding about each other's game.

The 25-year-old has come a long way from being a junior world champion on home soil in 2016. That team also included current stars Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar and Krishan Pathak among others.

Nilakanta now dreams of adding an important medal to his trophy cabinet.

"I have been playing with these guys for such a long time. We are close friends and always try to help each other out.     

"We are taking small steps at the moment and not getting ahead of ourselves. Hopefully, we will carry our current form into the Olympics as well," Nilakanta said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Harish Kotian© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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