The excitement among the members of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team was palpable as they boarded the flight at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday afternoon for the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 to be held between 21 July and 5 August 2018.
This is the first time in eight years that the Indian Women’s Hockey Team will appear at the prestigious World Cup and no other player in the current squad apart from skipper Rani and Deepika have ever played at a World Cup before. “The team is extremely excited and we have waited for this moment ever since we won the Asia Cup last year. For almost everyone on the team, this will be a first-time experience to be playing at the World Cup,” expressed skipper Rani who was brimming with confidence ahead of the team’s departure.
Though this will be the first-appearance at the quadrennial event for most of them, the fact that the team consists of players who have more than 100 International Caps is an advantage feels Rani. She said, “It is a plus point for us that this team barring only three or four players have been playing together for over two years now and have had good international exposure with many of them having more than 100 or 150 plus International Caps for India. Every player in the team has grown from strength to strength and I am confident we will do well at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018.”
The Indian team is grouped in Pool B with Olympic Champions England, World No.7 USA and Ireland. In their first match on 21 July 2018, the Indian team will take on hosts England. Having beaten the team who are ranked World. No 2 at the recent Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Rani believes the pressure will be on England when they meet on the opening day. “The pressure is not on us but it will be on England because they know we are capable of doing well against them. Though they defeated us in the Bronze Medal match at the CWG, we made some silly errors that cost us the match that day. The Indian Women’s Team are no longer the underdogs and in our mind, we want to get off to a good start regardless of England having home support and advantage,” stated an assertive Rani.
On 21 July 2018, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team will take on hosts England at 18.30 hours IST.
Matches will be shown live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD 2 and Hotstar.