After the historic Women’s Asia Cup victory in November last year, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team has set out for their first tour of the year.
The 20-member squad led by Rani along with Vice Captain Sunita Lakra left for Jinchun, Korea on Friday where they will play a five-match series with the hosts starting March 5.
Under the training of Coach Harendra Singh, the India Team was based out of the Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru where 34 players were part of the National Camp that focused on fitness, speed and skill development.
While the 20-members will compete in Korea between March 5 to 11, the remaining members of the camp will continue to train in SAI, Bengaluru ahead of their preparations for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“This is our first event after winning the Asia Cup last year so naturally the team is riding on confidence. The team is upbeat and eager to play our first international tour of the season and Korea can be a tough team to play in their home conditions so we look forward to the challenge,” expressed Captain Rani ahead of the team’s departure.
The team will report back in Bengaluru after arriving from Korea on March 13 and will continue with their preparation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Korea Tour will help us analyze our game and find out if there are shortcomings in the way we play ahead of the CWG. We have specifically trained on our man-to-man marking, tried different variations in our attack during the camp and we want to execute these strategies against an international team. We have been playing matches against local men’s team to get tougher too,” added the skipper.
In the absence of ace goalkeeper Savita who has been rested for the Tour, debut goalkeeper Swati and Rajani Etimarpu will be put to test. With experienced Deepika and Poonam Rani returning to squad after a long injury haul, Rani feels the team is a perfect mix.
“It is a big boost to have Deepika and Poonam back in the squad. We also have talented youngsters like defender Suman Devi Thoudam, midfielder Udita and forward Lalremsiami, I think we have a very good mix with a perfect balance of young and experienced players,” Rani said.