The Indian men’s hockey team lost an opportunity to test its competitive skill after its FIH Hockey Pro League home matches against New Zealand this month were postponed as the opponents refused to visit India due to the raging Corona pandemic.
The two matches were to be held on May 29 and 30 in Bhubaneswar.
“Due to the second coronavirus wave in India, the New Zealand men’s hockey team has refused to travel to Odisha to play the Pro League matches against India,” a source told IANS on Monday.
The matches would have also helped India prepare for the Olympic Games, scheduled to start on July 23 in Tokyo.
Earlier, the Indian men’s team’s Europe tour to play a series of Pro League matches were put off, again due to the pandemic.
The Great Britain leg of Pro League in London on May 8 and 9 was postponed as Indians were denied visas because coronavirus cases surged in India. The Spanish leg of the league in Valencia on May 15 and 16 was also postponed as the team couldn’t travel to Spain.
Germany, too, restricted travellers from India and the hockey team couldn’t play matches on May 22 and 23 in Hamburg.
Last month, India competed in the Argentina leg of Pro League. Since then the core group of 33 players have been training at Sports Authority of India training centre in Bengaluru.