Hailing India's steady progress in the past one year, national hockey team captain Manpreet Singh on Monday said the upcoming Pro League will test the team's consistency against the best in the world ahead of Tokyo Olympics next year.
"I think the team has grown steadily in this past year with a number of youngsters getting very good international exposure. We have a good pool of players who can be further tested during the Hockey Pro League. Although we have maintained our world ranking at No.5, our consistency will be put to test during the Hockey Pro League where we play top teams like the Netherlands, Belgium, and Australia in the first three months of the season," Manpreet said during India's ongoing national coaching camp in Bhubaneshwar.
Manpreet expressed excitement about World Cup hockey returning to Kalinga Stadium. "There is no doubt that Kalinga stadium is one of the world's best venues we have ever played in. It's not only the Indian team who enjoy playing here but other teams like Belgium and the Netherlands too enjoy the crowds, the atmosphere and the infrastructure here. It is the first time that India will be hosting back-to-back World Cups and it is a matter of great pride for us. It will also be 75 years since Indian Independence in 2023 and it would be incredible if we can add to the celebrations by lifting the World Cup title." The captain further said: "This is a great initiative taken up by Odisha Government and Hockey India. Rourkela and its surrounding region have a rich hockey culture with many of my teammates and senior players emerging from there. Hosting a major event like the World Cup there will not only boost the hockey scene further, it will also show the real hockey belt of Odisha to the world."