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India aiming to prove a point

Glasgow: Hoping to salvage some pride after a disappointing World Cup outing and also end their title drought in the process, a talented but unpredictable Indian men’s hockey team will open their Commonwealth Games campaign against a lowly Wales in a Pool A match, here, on Friday.

Pool A also features world champions Australia alongside Scotland and South Africa. Pool B, on the other hand, comprises England, New Zealand, Malaysia, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.

Following the Wales match, India will take on hosts Scotland on July 26 before facing mighty Australia on July 29. Their last match is against South Africa on July 31.

Undoubtedly, the Indians will be determined to register big wins against Wales and Scotland to boost their confidence ahead of the encounter against the Aussies.

India come into the Glasgow Games as reigning silver medallists, having been humiliated 0-8 by Australia in the final of the 2010 edition of the quadrennial event in New Delhi. After Australia, the ninth-ranked Indians are the favourites to progress to the semi-finals from Pool A with South Africa (13th ranked) posing an outside challenge.

The Games will also provide India a chance to prove a point, especially after their ninth-place finish at this year’s World Cup at The Hague.

Coach Terry Walsh has set ‘improvement’ as the main objective in the quadrennial event and said his first target is to ensure a last-four berth for the erstwhile giants of the game. (PTI)