Champions Trophy: Eng, Oz skippers feel hot Bhubaneswar weather will be a challenge

Bhubaneswar: The relatively hot weather conditions here will be a challenge for the overseas teams during the prestigious FIH Champions Trophy, which begins at the Kalinga Stadium on December 6, feels the skippers of Australia and England sides.

"The practice over the last few days has been really awesome. The weather conditions are pretty hot but it is enjoyable and challenging for us," said Australian captain Eddie Ockenden on the sidelines of a practice session today. "I don't know too much about other teams' training but we having been practicing actively at our end. I am sure it is going to be a difficult week ahead but at the same time very dynamic and we are looking forward to this tournament."

England skipper Barry Middleton too opined with his Australian counterpart but said they are determined to top their pool and reach the final.

"The tournament is really tough and we are in high spirits to top the pool and play in the finals. While, all the teams are tough and pretty good, we are getting used to the pitch and preparing ourselves to avoid unpredictable circumstances," he said.

"In comparison to England's cold weather, the weather here is warm and we are getting acclimatised to the climate." Meanwhile, Netherlands captain Robert Horst said having already spent a week here they are slowly and steadily getting used to the conditions.

"It's beautiful in Bhubaneswar with a nice stadium and good pitch. We have already been here for a week and the hospitality is perfect for us," he said. Horst said their practice game against India yesterday not only gave them an idea about the hosts but also the areas where they need to work upon.

"Our practice match against India yesterday helped us understand many things, like team coordination. It was a tough game. India gave us a tough fight and looked focussed and confident.

"Going into the tournament, our aim will be on converting scoring opportunities. We have three debutants, Niek Schoot, Mirco Pruijser and Martijn Havenga who are continuously working hard and are growing with each game," he said.

While Australia will play England in the opening match of the tournament on Saturday, Netherlands will take on Argentina on the same day.

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