India will take on arch rivals Pakistan in their opening group encounter in the hockey event of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Games next year will be hosted by Gold Coast in Pakistan. Both the Asian powerhouses have been placed in Pool B with the contest scheduled for April 7.
As per the schedule released by International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Tuesday, also placed in Pool B are England, Malaysia and Wales. It poses an easy challenge and yet a tricky one for the sixth-ranked Indian team. Last editionâ€™s bronze medallists and Euro Hockey Championshipsâ€™ bronze medallists England could pose a real threat.
Pool A comprises of five-time champions and hosts Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and Scotland.
Indian men's team fixture list sees them take on Pakistan first (April 7) followed by Wales (April 8), Malaysia (April 10) and England (April 11). By the time India face Pakistan, they would have already hit the ground running with the game against Wales.
The womenâ€™s team are placed in Pool A which consists of reigning silver medallists England, South Africa, Malaysia and Wales. The other group includes the defending champions Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Ghana.
Indian womenâ€™s team begin their campaign on the start of the tournament where they take on Wales on April 5. It will be followed by games against Malaysia (April 6), England (April 8) and South Africa (April 10).
In the menâ€™s department, Australia will be the team to beat. In the five editions of the hockey event, all five have been won by Australia.
Many teams including the Asian Games gold medallists India will be eager to end that run following host of personnel changes this past year.
Two teams from each pool in menâ€™s and womenâ€™s groups will move on directly for the semi-finals while the rest go into the classification matches.