The upcoming FIH Pro League matches against a tough Indian side will serve as good preparation for world no.2 Australia ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, visiting captain Aran Zalewski said in Bhubaneswar.
After a disappointing start to their campaign in the second FIH Pro League where they lost to world champions Belgium, Australia bounced back with victories over Great Britain and will now lock horns against India in the two-leg contest here on Friday and Saturday.
Soon after arriving here on Sunday night, the skipper of the three-time world champions admitted that world no.4 India would be a tough nut to crack in front of home crowd.
“I think it serves us as good preparation to be facing India away from home in this important Olympic year,” Zalewski said.
“The Indian team has also done well so far, so we’re looking forward to playing them here. We also have a week to prepare for the matches, so we’re hoping we can acclimatise with the conditions and put up a strong show,” he said.
With two wins from four matches, defending champions Australia are currently at the fifth spot in the points table with six points, while India, with three victories out of four games, are a rung above at the third place.
Australia coach Colin Batch too agreed with his captain when asked about his expectations from the matches against India at the Kalinga Stadium.
“We’re delighted to be back here in Bhubaneswar to face India. It’s been a mixed start for us in the Pro League so far, but we’re hoping to face a tough fight against the hosts. We are also looking forward to playing in front of a noisy, full crowd,” he said.