Competing against strong teams in Pro League will help us at World Cup: Deep Grace Ekka

BENGALURU, Jun 1 (PTI) Indian women's hockey team defender Deep Grace Ekka says competing against strong teams in The Netherlands during the upcoming away leg of the FIH Pro League will help the side adapt to the conditions and also prepare for the World Cup in July.

India is set to play against Belgium, Argentina, Netherlands and the United States this month at the FIH Hockey Pro League. "We have a busy schedule ahead of us in the lead-up to the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup 2022, and we are looking forward to it because the more games we play against the stronger teams, the better prepared we will be for the tournament," Ekka said in a Hockey India release.

"Everyone is focusing on their fitness and paying more attention to the post-match recovery process to be prepared for the tournament. "The upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 games are a great platform as they will also assist us in adapting to the conditions there." India is placed in Pool B alongside England, China, and New Zealand at the hockey World Cup in Netherlands and Spain scheduled to begin on July 1.

India will kick off its campaign against England on July 3 in Amstelveen, Netherlands and the anticipation is high among the players at the national camp at the SAI Centre here. "The camp is buzzing with excitement and positive energy. The players are training together and there is a real sense of unity among the younger set of players and the senior ones," goalkeeper Savita said.

"Everyone is looking forward to the upcoming away matches of the FIH Pro League Games in Belgium and The Netherlands as they will really help the team in growing further as a unit. "Our team has made remarkable improvement over the past few months and we are training really hard to continue on the same trajectory. We are gaining confidence each day and will hope to give our best performance at the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup 2022," she added.

Ahead of the prestigious event, India will compete against hosts Belgium on June 11 and 12. The team will next fly to the Netherlands to face off against Argentina on June 18 and 19. The Indian team will then clash with the United States on June 21 and 22. India currently occupies the third spot in the FIH Pro League table behind Argentina and the Netherlands.