The Indian men’s hockey team’s Olympic qualification is done and dusted. The tough journey starts now with the Manpreet Singh-led side set to test their skills and preparedness against the best teams in the world in the Pro League over the next six months, starting with two matches against the Netherlands over the weekend.Defender Rupinder Pal Singh conceded that the next six months would be crucial for India as they will clash with the best in the business to know where they stand before the Olympics.Ever since their quarter-final exit from the World Cup in December 2018, India have barely played against a top team. Though the side toured Australia and Belgium in May last year, the hosts fielded second-string squads, with the latter fielding their U-21 squad. But even a heavily-depleted Australia hammered a full-strength India 4-0 and 5-2 in Perth.India’s only major achievement in an otherwise uneventful 2019—they didn’t play even a single top team—was qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics by beating Russia. But 2020 promises to produce high-octane action in the build up to the quadrennial games in July-August.“Playing the Pro League will be amazing. Facing top teams continuously will be very good. We didn’t play against… Read full this story
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