India ink three-year hockey series agreement with Australia
New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS)
The Indian hockey team will tour Australia to play Test series' for the next three years, starting 2016, following a bilateral agreement between Hockey India (HI) and Hockey Australia (HA) on Saturday. As part of the agreement, HA will release its national squad for the cash-rich Hockey India League (HIL) for the next three editions. HI chief executive officer (CEO) Elena Norman and HA CEO Cam Vale completed the formalities at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium before the HIL semi-finals.
The agreement will see the World Champions face India in a six-match Test series in Australia in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
"We know that the Australians are world champions and India has proved itself to be a formidable team in the last year. We are happy with the commitment of HA to release its players for the next three seasons," Norman said.
Norman added that the two federations are also discussing a possible bilateral series between their women's teams as part of preparations for the Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2.
"This is a milestone moment for Australian hockey. This agreement is the first step in honouring our commitment to building a calendar of top class events for Australian hockey fans and raising the profile of the sport," said Vale.
"It demonstrates how seriously we are taking our strategic goal to build a stronger commercial model. We're committed to showing our support for HI, the HIL and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in their endeavours to grow the sport globally."
Australia is the biggest contributor to HIL after India. In 2015, 22 'Kookaburras' competed in the third edition of the competition.