- Test event at London will be India’s real test before the Games as they will be up against Australia, Germany and Great Britain in it.
- Team is probably good enough to knock off top team once, but not good enough to do it consistently, feels Michael Nobbs about his team.
India will have a tough task on hand when they take on top hockey teams in world at the London Olympics in July, 2012, but they are taking some huge steps and targeting to finish in top Six at the Games. Coach Michael Nobbs feels that his team is probably good enough to knock off top team once, but need some more time to be consistent in winning such opponents.
India’s Chief Coach said, “Facing world’s top teams at the London Olympics would be a tough job. Realistically, we are working towards finishing in top six bracket… Let us see where do we stand.”
India will have a litmus test of their preparation for quadrennial games in Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament (test event, a part of London Prepares Series) from 2nd May to 6th May, 2012. Where, India will be up against Australia (current World Champions and Bronze Medalists of Beijing Olympics), Germany (Gold Medalists of Bejing Olympics and Runners-up of World Cup 2010) and the hosts Great Britain (Bronze Medalists of World Cup 2010) at Riverbank Arena, Olympic Park, London.
On asking about the young squad travelling to Pakistan for 3-nation tournament (called off now), Nobbs told, “He plans to give enough exposure to junior players, who are highly talented and before they are inducted into main squad.”
Coach Michael Nobbs will have another chance to test the players in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2012 (24th May to 3rd June). Great Britain (4th in FIH Rankings) will start as favorite in seven-team affair which includes South Korea (6th), New Zealand (7th), Pakistan (8th), Argentina, (9th), India (10th) and the hosts Malaysia (13th in FIH Rankings) in Ipoh, Malaysia. This will be warm up tournament for most of the teams for London Games, but India would be fielding a developmental squad in it.
More or less final look of Team India will be clear when Nobbs and his wards travel to Spain from July 1 to 13 for a small training camp, before participating in four-nation tournament at Santander, Spain.