London: The mood among the Indian Women’s Hockey Team is upbeat as they are set to take on hosts England in their opening match of the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 on Saturday.
India grouped in Pool B will take on World No 16 Ireland on 26 July followed by World No 7 USA on 29 July apart from facing the Olympic Champions England in their home ground on the opening day of the prestigious tournament.
“The pressure will be on England and not on us,” asserted Indian Team skipper Rani on the eve of the match. “Yes they will have the home ground advantage but we are not new to playing in front of big crowds. We have done well against England before and we will carry the confidence of doing well in our recent tournaments including the CWG where we had tasted victory against England in the Group Stage in Gold Coast,” added Rani.
India’s previous appearance at the FIH World Cup was in 2010 when the event was held in Argentina. Rani then was the cynosure of India’s ninth-place performance as she had scored a maximum of seven goals for the team during the course of the tournament.
While there will be a lot riding on Rani during the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 too, she has a unit that has shown confidence-inspiring performance over the past two years where India even climbed to a career-best ranking of World No.10.
“The team, especially the forward-line does not depend on Rani alone anymore to score goals. We have young strikers including the experience of Vandana Katariya with 200 plus International Caps who have scored on multiple occasions for the team. I like to look at the positives we have and having a drag-flicker like Gurjit Kaur who is one of the best in the world is also an advantage we have,” stated Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne.