Hockey India to send second-string hockey teams to 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Indian men's Hockey team - 2021 Tokyo Olympics: Day 13
Indian men's Hockey team - 2021 Tokyo Olympics: Day 13

India will field second-string hockey teams for both the men's and women's events at the upcoming 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Hockey India (HI) officials confirmed the development following an affirmation from the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

This step has been taken while keeping the short gap between the CWG and Asian Games in mind. Taking into consideration the importance of the Asian Games, which will serve as the qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics, India has decided not to send its main teams for the 2022 CWG.

The Birmingham CWG is scheduled to take place between July 28 and August 8 while the Asian Games will be held from September 10 to 25 this year.

A Hockey India official told PTI:

"We have three teams - India senior, India A and Junior team - and we would be sending our 'A' teams for the Commonwealth Games this year because we don't want our main players to hit the peak just before the Asian Games, which is more important."

The official further added:

"We will send those reserve players who will not be a part of the Asian Games squad because there is only a 32-day gap in between the two Games and we don't want our hockey teams to peak at the Commonwealth Games. We want our main players to be fully fit for the Asian Games because it is an Olympic qualifier."

We have enough bench strength: Hockey India official

Hockey India is confident that the Men in Blue will put on a good performance irrespective of the line-up. An HI official said:

"We have enough bench strength, so sending a strong team is not an issue. But we will not risk our main team players because the Asian Games is of greater significance for us. In fact, the 2022 CWG will give our 'A' team players valuable international match exposure. But yes, there is a possibility that we could send our main team goalkeepers for the CWG because there they can get some experience and game time."

The Indian men's hockey team is currently competing in the 2021-22 FIH Hockey Pro League at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. India will compete against Spain in a two-legged tie on February 26- 27.

Also read: PR Sreejesh will continue to don the Blue jersey

Edited by Ritwik Kumar