Home support will be a huge boost, says Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s Captain Rani


Bhubaneswar: The 18-member Indian Women’s Hockey team was announced here on Friday by Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne which saw the Dutchman retain the players who represented India in their preparatory tour of England earlier this month, and skipper Rani believes that the consistency in selection has helped her team members in understanding each other better on and off the field.

“We have a group of players who have played together for a good period of time, and that obviously helps in building a good understanding between all the team members. We know each other in and out, and all of us understand each other both on and off the field, so I believe it has also helped us a lot. We are now preparing to be at their best when we take on USA in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers here at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium,” said Rani.

Looking back at her experience of representing the national team in front of home support, Rani said the support in Bhubaneswar will be a huge boost for her side.

“Some members from this team have played in India before but that was way back in the FIH World League Round 2 in 2013, but the crowd that comes out to watch hockey in Bhubaneswar is nothing like that. We know we will be cheered on from the first minute of the match, and we are all looking forward to playing at home. It is a good moment in your life when you play such a huge match in front of your home crowd, and the team is looking forward to producing a great performance and enjoying it on the field,” she said.

We are looking at all the positives and we know it is always an advantage when you play at home. But USA is a strong side, and they will also be at their best when we face them here. I am sure they will be coming to win, but we have confidence in ourselves, and the energy that you get from the crowd shall only help us in giving our best on the field,” said the 24-year-old.

Leading the side into two matches of such high intensity, Rani said there is pressure, but her team has huge belief in themselves, and are focusing on doing the basics right in both the matches.

She said, “We all know how important these matches are, but we cannot let them get to us. We have played in huge matches before and we now have the experience of coping up with the pressure. We will play our own game, and focus on the basics. If we can continue with the way we have been playing, and play according to our plans, we will be able to produce good results.”

The Indian Women’s Team will have open training sessions on 19th and 26th October 2019 from 1730 – 1900hrs IST.

The practice sessions will be open for public in order to give the local support the opportunity to watch their Women’s team’s players live in action before the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha.

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