Preparatory camp for Aus tour begins

Thirty players touched base at the Sports Authority of India campus, Southern Centre here while the 18 who were part of the Indian team that triumphed in Ordos, China are expected to flow in by the weekend as Nobbs sets his eyes on forming the core group of 33 players -- three for every position.

Hockey India selectors will hold a one-day trials on September 26 to pick a 22-member squad for the tour of Down Under where they will play in two nine-a-side tournaments and a set of international friendlies. From October 12-19, the Indians will play a set of nine-a-side matches against Australia, then participate in four-nation nine-a-side tournament from Oct 20-23 involving hosts Australia, New Zealand and arch-rivals Pakistan.

Both these tournaments will be played at Perth. The Indians will then be involved in a series of friendlies (regular 11-a-side) against Australia, Pakistan, Korea and Australia 'A' at Busselton and Bunbury Oct 24-Nov 3.

Nobbs is also trying to get a one-metre width goal post for this camp at SAI which would be used in the two tournaments in Australia. “I am trying to get the new goals made,” said Nobbs. “I have been told that a carpenter would come down and look at how we can get a set of goals made. I hope it happens quickly.”

The coach also said that the probables of 30 would be divided into three teams of 10 each and they would square off against each other in a nine-a-side match on Wednesday.

The teams will be captained by Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandker and Arjun Halappa -- although the injured trio will not play -- and have chosen to be named India, Australia and New Zealand. “The boys chose India, Australia and New Zealand quickly.

They refused to name their teams after Pakistan. I had offered it to them saying that Pakistan too would be playing the nine-a-side four-nation Super Series event in Perth along with us and the other two teams,” laughed Nobbs.

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