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Defending champions India leave for Asia Cup hockey in Jakarta

In the previous edition, held in Dhaka in 2017, India won the trophy after defeating Malaysia in the final.

SNS | New Delhi |

Bronze medalists in the Olympics, the Indian men’s hockey team departed for Jakarta on Friday, where they will defend their Asia Cup title beginning May 23. The team, led by Birendra Lakra, will compete in Pool A against Japan, Pakistan, and hosts Indonesia, while Pool B will feature Malaysia, Korea, Oman, and Bangladesh.

India will kick off their campaign on the opening day against Pakistan. Speaking about the team’s excitement, Lakra said, “The team is definitely excited. The Asia Cup is a prestigious tournament and we will have quite a few players who will be experiencing this tournament for the first time so naturally the mood is quite upbeat in the team.”

Talking about the team’s preparations, Lakra said, “Our camp in SAI Bengaluru was quite tough and very fruitful. While we got to know more about each player’s strengths, and improved our on-field communication, Sardar (Singh, coach) was also very particular about our fitness.”

In the previous edition, held in Dhaka in 2017, India won the trophy after defeating Malaysia in the final. Reflecting on his team’s prospects for this season, Lakra said, “We just want to take it one match at a time, definitely there will be a lot of tense nerves ahead of the first match against Pakistan but we will focus on our own game and get on from there.”

(Inputs from IANS)