Hockey will be the best at CWG: Baskaran

"I expect the hockey competition to be at a much higher level than any other sport, with the possible exception of athletics, at the Commonwealth Games, the reason being that the world's top-ranked teams are participating," Baskaran told IANS in an interview.

"If you look at the men's tournament, you have seven teams who are in the top-10 of world rankings. Except for European sides like the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, all the other top teams are taking part in Delhi," he added. Australia, the triple gold medalists, are ranked No.1 followed by England (4), South Korea (4), New Zealand (7), Pakistan (8), India (9) and Canada (10) in the men's competition.

However, in the women's section, the top four will not be present and England are the highest ranked at five, ahead of Australia (6), New Zealand (7) and India (11). Baskaran pointed out that the teams would be familiar with the conditions here since quite a few of them had taken part in the World Cup in February-March at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"Most of the teams are thus quite familiar with the Dhyan Chand Stadium pitch and hence I expect them to be performing at a very high level," Baskaran said. The former India coach felt that it would be a cause for jubilation if the Indian men's and women's teams even make it to the podium.

The Indian men have never won a medal at the hockey competition that was introduced only at the 1998 Games held in Kuala Lumpur, while the women claimed gold at the 2002 event in Manchester and were silver medalists at the Melbourne Games in 2006.

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