Tarrant back from injury for tour of Japan and India

Black Sticks captain Blair Tarrant is set make a welcome return to the turf during the tour of Japan and India next month.

The 28-year-old veteran of 179 tests has recovered from a frustrating back injury that meant he could not compete at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Tarrant, who comes from Dunedin, leads a playing group of 20, including goalkeeper Dominic Dixon and striker Dylan Thomas.

The pair are expected to make their debut during the four-match series against Japan or in the one-off game against Germany next month.

Dixon and Thomas will then return to New Zealand while the remaining 18 players head to Bangalore for three tests against India in preparation for December's Hockey World Cup in the same location.

Coach Darren Smith said the tour was timely for the group, offering an opportunity for some fresh faces to get international experience ahead of World Cup selections later in the year.

``To have the ability to spend time in Japan and India against very challenging competition gives us a chance to test our on and off-field systems ahead of the World Cup and Olympics,'' Smith said.

``It will be great to have Blair Tarrant back on the turf.

``He is a very important cog for our squad, both as an outstanding player and the leadership role he undertakes.

``Dom and Dylan have been impressive during the past 12 months and recently in training, so we are excited to see how they perform at the top level.''


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