Bengaluru: May 20: Olympic Bronze medalist Birendra Lakra-led Indian Men’s Hockey Team left for Jakarta, Indonesia where they will defend the Hero Men’s Asia Cup title starting from 23rd May 2022.
The Indian team is up against Japan, Pakistan, and hosts Indonesia in Pool A while Malaysia, Korea, Oman, and Bangladesh are grouped in Pool B.
India will kick off their campaign on an opening day against Pakistan. Speaking about the team’s excitement, Birendra said, “The team is definitely excited. The Asia Cup is a very 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 so far, 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 (Coach) was also very particular about our fitness,” Lakra added.
In the previous edition held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2017, India had defeated Malaysia in the Final to lift the title. Reflecting his thoughts on his team’s prospects this year, 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,” he said.