Harmanpreet Singh hockey
[Representational] India's Harmanpreet Singh (L)Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The Indian hockey team will square off with traditional rivals Pakistan in the group phase of the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, Australia. The tournament is scheduled for April next year.

Besides Pakistan, India are grouped alongside England, Malaysia and Wales in Pool B.

The two rival nations clash swords in their respective opening games of the competition on April 7 at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.

Each of the ten teams will play every other team within the pool in the preliminary matches from April 5 to 11. The top two teams from each of the groups thereafter advance to the semi-finals and medal round matches from April 12 to 14.

"It is a tough pool but we are looking forward to the challenge," mentioned Indian men's hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne. "We are playing England and Australia here (Bhubaneswar) at the Hockey World League [Final]. So this experience will help us in our preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

"The group stage will definitely witness close contest," he added.

India women's hockey
File photo of India women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal (R)Mark Kolbe/Getty

Women's team determined for a good show

Meanwhile, the Indian women's hockey team are grouped alongside England, South Africa, Malaysia and Wales in Pool A of the sports event.

Their first match is against Wales on April 5.

"I am happy with the group. I believe our team can challenge any team in the world and jumping up the world ranking encourages the athletes to get better and better," said India women's hockey team chief coach Harendra Singh. 

"It's the Commonwealth Games and we can't take any team lightly."