An Indian women’s hockey squad is to visit Australia for a month-long tour in March during which they will play exhibition and practice matches against teams from the home country and New Zealand.

The 24 players will be a selected from a group of 36 attending a training camp at the Sports Authority of India in Bangalore.

The Indian Women’s Hockey Federation said that the tour is intended to be ‘the beginning of a long term plan’ aimed at preparing players for the World Cup in Spain and the Commonwealth Games in Australia, both of which take place in 2006.