CWG: Sardar Singh doesn't fear facing Australia again in final
Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh wants a repeat of the 2010 Commonwealth Games final against Australia at this edition of the tournament which begins on July 25.
Glasgow: They might have been hammered 0-8 by Australia in the final of 2010 Commonwealth Games, but Indian men's hockey team captain Sardar Singh said he doesn't fear facing the mighty 'Kookaburras' again in the summit clash of the upcoming edition of the quadrennial event in Glasgow.
Reacting to legendary Australian Jamie Dwyer's recent statement that he would love to witness a India-Australia final in the Glasgow Games, Sardar said he and his colleagues are up for the challenge is it pans out that way.
"Like what Jamie said, we too would like to see Australia in the final with us. While we had lost the match against Australia in the World Cup (0-4), the second half of the game cannot be overlooked as our defence made a significant comeback in restricting Australia's goal scoring spree.
Our defence line-up is in perfect shape and now it is time for the forwards to deliver their best," said the star midfielder. The skipper said the morale of the team is on a high, especially after the 3-2 win over England in a practice match ahead of the Games to be held from July 23 to August 3.
"The team is showing major signs of improvement and the morale of the players is on a high after we beat England 3-2 in the practice game," Sardar said. "We played fast hockey. Our passing played a key role in beating England. "The training sessions have grown intense and faster as time approaches. We have worked on pace."
India men's team will open its CWG campaign in Pool A against Wales on July 25, followed by matches against Scotland (July 26), Australia (July 29) and South Africa (July 31). Meanwhile, Indian women's hockey team captain Ritu Rani also exuded confidence of a good showing in Glasgow and said the youngsters in the side are raring to prove their metal before the world stage.
"I am very confident and at ease with the present form of my team members. Each player, irrespective of whether they are experienced or young, is high on confidence and determined to give their best," she said.
"A very interesting aspect that I see amongst the young players in this team is their hunger to showcase their potential at the international stage. "Be it Ritusha or Anupa in the forward or Lilima and Navjot in the midfield or Namita in the defence each one has stood up to their responsibility and delivered in the past and are eager to deliver again," Ritu added.
The Indian eves will play Canada in their tournament opener on July 24 before squaring up against New Zealand (July 27), Trinidad and Tobago (July 28) and South Africa (July 30).