Asian Games 2018: India vs Indonesia preview, telecast, date, start time and where to watch online
Defending champions India begin their Asian Games campaign with a lung-opener against hosts Indonesia on Monday.
Renowned hockey statistician BG Joshi has confirmed for Sportskeeda that the Indian men have played against Indonesia only once - that was way back in the Ahmedabad Invitational tournament in 1962.
The Indonesian hockey team has qualified for the competition by virtue of being hosts just as they did in 1962 when Jakarta hosted the Games for the first time. Back then, India who ended up as the silver-medalists were placed in Group A while the Indonesians were in Group B. The hosts lost all their matches and had to settle for the wooden spoon.
A couple of months ago, the Indians impressed with a gutsy and clinical show in the Champions Trophy at Breda to offset a rather lackluster performance in the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast earlier.
The quality of the opposition in Jakarta is by no means as menacing as either Gold Coast or Breda, but the challenge for Harendra Singh's side is that there is no margin for error as nothing less than a gold medal will suffice to ensure direct qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
Sreejesh's boys start off as overwhelming favorites to regain the title they had last won at Incheon in 2014 and will be looking to also improve India's overall record at the Asian Games. The subcontinental giants who once ruled world hockey continue to be dominant in their own continent but India's statistics vis-a-vis their traditional rivals tell a rather sorry tale.
The Indian men have won only 3 gold medals in the history of the competition while South Korea has won 4 and the formidable Pakistanis hold the record with a massive haul of 8 gold medals.
A golden opportunity presents itself for the Indians to assert their dominance ahead of the World Cup which begins in just over three month's time. Harendra Singh's fifth-ranked team is way ahead of the field with Malaysia ranked twelfth and Pakistan ranked thirteenth making up the top three at Jakarta.
The Indians find themselves in Pool A alongside Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and hosts Indonesia and should end as pool toppers if they play to their potential.
Harendra's boys will be looking to score as many goals as they possibly can should goal difference or goals scored assume significance later. Rupinder Pal Singh is making a comeback after being rested for the Champions Trophy and is expected to use his drag-flicking skills to good effect after an encouraging performing against New Zealand in the Test series earlier.
Here is how you can catch all the action
Event: Asian Games 2018
Venue: Jakarta, Indonesia
Date: 20 August 2018
Time: 6:30 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: Sony ESPN, Sony Ten 2, Ten 2 HD, Sony ESPN HD
Live Streaming: Sony Liv
Live Updates: Sportskeeda