The Indian women's hockey team will next face World No. 5 Germany in a double-header tie on 12th and 13th March in Bhubaneswar.
With the Indian women’s hockey team competing in their first FIH Hockey Pro League this year, Nikki Pradhan, a two-time Olympian and seasoned defender, could not hide her excitement. She expressed her delight at the opportunity to play premier teams from across the world almost every weekend. In Muscat, Oman, the team started their FIH Pro League campaign with two significant wins over Asian rival China. They have built on it, registering a win and a loss over Spain, the world’s No. 6 team.
“We are really excited to be playing in the Pro League for the first time and this was probably the best thing that could happen to us this year where we play the World Cup and the Asian Games, both very important events for us and these matches against top teams of the world will hold us in good stead,” stated Nikki who became the first woman hockey player from Jharkhand to represent India at the Olympic Games in Rio, 2016.
Next up for the Indian women’s hockey team is a clash against World No. 5 Germany in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Germany had arrived earlier this week. “Germany is a very good side and them losing against Belgium in their opening matches will only make them more determined to win against us which is why we don’t want to take them lightly. We played them last year before we went for the Olympics and we understand their game and temperament. They are a tough opponent and these matches against Germany will be quite physical. But we are ready for the challenge,” she said, as per a press release.
Nikki then spoke highly about working under Chief Coach Janneke Schopman, who also played as a defender in her hay days with the Dutch National team. She explained, “Janneke gets into the smallest details which could make a big difference in our individual performance. We use a lot of video analysis, not just of our opponents, but also of our own individual performance and she takes us through the plus and minus of how we performed. Since, she herself has played at the highest level as a defender, she brings in great expertise. I feel there are still some gaps we need to work on in our defence and we are trying to improve in each match,” she said.
The two teams will face off against each other in two games at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on 12th and 13th March. The games will be telecast live on Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports Select 2 HD, and Disney + Hotstar.