When it comes to experience, New Zealand's men's hockey team has plenty of it. For the upcoming Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, New Zealand's 18-man squad features eight players with over 100 caps. The key man in the Black Sticks squad and the captain of the side Blair Tarrant has returned from injury and will look to inspire his team in the world event.
Tarrant, who missed the team's silver medal effort at this year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, makes a comeback from a back injury.
New Zealand are placed in pool A along with Olympic champions Argentina, Spain and France. The World No 9 team are set to face a tough task against Argentina and Spain, who are ranked above them, but they should be able to qualify for the crossover second round of the tournament. Out of four teams, the top-ranked side from the pool will make directly to the quarter-finals while the third and fourth ranked teams will have to play crossover matches for qualification to quarters.
In the 2010 edition, the Black Sticks finished ninth while in 2014, they ended up at the seventh spot.
New Zealand's history at the hockey World Cup is not great. Since their first appearance at the mega event in 1973, New Zealand did not finish above the seventh spot in nine editions they took part it. On the other hand, the Black Sticks won their solitary Olympic gold medal in 1976. They have two silver medals and a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games.
At this year's tournament, New Zealand will look to make it to quarters first and then hope to cause upsets against better-ranked teams. They have done it in the past like defeating the higher-ranked India in the semi-final of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The team will play three warm-up games against Malaysia before making their way to India for their opening game against France on 30 November.
New Zealand's men's squad:
Cory Bennett, Marcus Child, George Enersen, Hugo Inglis, Stephen Jenness, Richard Joyce, Dane Lett, Shea McAleese, George Muir, Dominic Newman, Jared Panchia, Arun Panchia (vice-captain), Hayden Phillips, Nick Ross, Kane Russell, Aidan Sarikaya, Blair Tarrant (captain), Nic Woods.
Head coach: Darren Smith
For the rest of the profiles of teams in the Hockey World Cup 2018, click here.
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Updated Date: Nov 23, 2018 20:09:31 IST