The Champions Trophy is regarded as the third most important hockey tournament after Olympics and the World Cup, but almost all the eight participating teams in the ongoing edition here have fielded relatively young squads to "develop" their bench strength for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Buoyed by their triumph over Malaysia, India would face their toughest challenge so far when they take on unbeaten reigning champions Australia in their final preliminary game of the hockey World Cup here tomorrow.
The Netherlands will face underdogs New Zealand in the summit clash of the Hero Hockey World league Final tomorrow after the two teams eked out hard-fought wins over world champions Australia and England at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, here on Saturday.
Hockey India Secretary General Narinder Batra on Friday launched a scathing attack on former head coach Ric Charlesworth, calling him a "loose cannon" after the Australian criticised the poor turnout of spectators for the Hockey World League Final here.
They are a part of it but renowned coaches, Ric Charlesworth and Roelant Oltmans, differ about Hockey India League`s benefits in the struggling host country which finished 12th at the London Olympic Games.
Legendary Australian coach Ric Charlesworth today said that the teams in the Hockey India League may find the hectic schedule difficult to cope with, but his side will have an advantage with many youngsters.
The aura is long gone and recent performances have been inconsistent but Indian hockey`s former technical adviser Ric Charlesworth, who had a controversial stint with the team, still expects his former wards to qualify for London Olympics during the qualifiers starting here on Saturday.
Traditional rivals India and Pakistan are best-suited for hockey`s new nine-a-side format, Hockey 9`s which will make its debut with the LANCO International Super Series in Perth from October 20-23, said it`s mastermind Ric Charlesworth.