Striker Rani Rampal is back after a break – rebooted as ever. Rampal on Friday returned to the pitch to back a 20 -member-strong Indian women’s hockey team announced for the tour of Spain, starting June 12. The five-match series against the Spanish team involves hard work and will lead to a build-up for the World Cup in July in London, Hockey India said in a press release, Hindustan Times reported.
Both teams have a good mix of young and experienced players. Indian women need to strike hard from the beginning as no major achievements have been recorded in the past few months. The team will post goalkeeper Savita as vice-captain. Youngster Swati has been called up as the backup goalkeeper for the tournament.
Rani had been rested since the Asian Champions Trophy where India won a silver medal.
India will strike a defence with the return of experienced player, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam. She will be joined by Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Suman Devi Thoudam, Deepika and drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur. The team will also have Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Neha Goyal, Navjot Kaur. Also, Nikki Pradhan in the midfield will hold the fort. Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita and Anupa Barla also joined in.
India’s forward-line will be guarded by skipper Rani who returns to action after being rested for the Asian Champions Trophy.
The team will be focusing on playing better to put behind the memories of the Hockey World League, Johannesburg. The team led by Rani finished eighth and missed an automatic berth in the 2018 World Cup.
“Also, this tournament provides us a platform to fine tune our game before the World Cup and the Asian Games in Jakarta,” said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.
“We will rotate players a lot during this tour because as much as getting good matches ahead of important tournament like the World Cup is essential, keeping the players fresh is also important,” he added.
The Indian Women’s team is a pool of strong performers and we wish them and Rani good luck in their future endeavours!