HWL Final a big chance to prepare for World Cup: VR Raghunath

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 07, 2014, 20:58 PM IST

New Delhi: The Men`s World League Final will provide the hosts an "ideal platform" to fine tune their skills and overcome shortcomings before the Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands said experienced defender V R Raghunath.

India are seeing the World League Final, to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here January 10-18, as a stepping stone for the World Cup, to be held from May 31 to June 15.

"This tournament is an ideal platform for us to work on our skill sets and loopholes before the World Cup. Terry Walsh is working very hard on our game and we are feeling the improvement in the manner we are playing in a synchronised manner," Raghunath said after the team`s practice session at the Dhyan Chand stadium.

India will lock horns against England in their tournament opener on January 10 and Raghunath said the hosts would aim to start the eight-nation event with a win.

"The team is looking at winning its first match against England and this will help boost our spirit going ahead in the tournament," he said.

Nikkin Thimmaiah, the youngest member in the Indian squad at 22, said it`s a big opportunity for him to be playing with the senior members of the Indian hockey on such a "huge platform".

"While playing with the seniors, you learn a lot in the process and automatically improve on your game. It will help me evolve as a better player. The team is concentrating on the first game and we will take each game as it comes," he said.