The New Zealand men’s team continues its build up to the Oceania Cup this month with a four test series in Wellington and Auckland.
The Indians were invited to play New Zealand to help the Black Sticks prepare for the vital clash with Australia which will be played in Invercargill in late August. At the same time the series will provide an opportunity for National Coach Shane McLeod to expand his player base.
Five new caps were introduced at the Punjab Gold Cup earlier this month. They were North Harbour’s David Green, Shay Neal and Priyesh Bhana plus Wellington’s Blair Hilton and Joel Baker.
The new caps were part of a successful tournament highlighted by a historic win over world champions Germany to take third place.
Canterbury defender Brad Shaw and Harbour midfielder Bryce Collins, who were both unavailable for the Punjab Gold Cup, add experience to the side to meet India.
The New Zealand side to play India was selected prior to the Punjab Gold Cup. The team was selected from all available players from the Auckland and Christchurch regional training centres.
In form New Zealand players to look out for during the four match series include up and coming young striker Nick Wilson, midfielder Steve Edwards, defender Dean Couzins and keeper Kyle Pontifex.
Following the series the Black Sticks compete in the Azlan Shah Tournament in Malaysia in April followed by a home series against a yet to be confirmed team, in August.
Two invitational sides selected from the national training centres, will also provide development opportunities for Shane McLeod. The NZ A Southern team will play India in Wellington on Tuesday, 24 February and the NZ A Northern team will step out two days later on Thursday 26 February. Both teams are bolstered by selected Black Sticks.
Source: Hockey New Zealand