We need to im­prove our fit­ness, feels Ram­pal

The Sunday Guardian - - Sports - SAMRAT CHAKRABORTY NEW DELHI

Af­ter win­ning the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup in Ja­pan, In­dia cap­tain Rani Ram­pal has as­serted that her side needs to work on their fit­ness lev­els and im­prove their penalty cor­ner con­ver­sion rate along with the de­fence.

« See, I want my side to im­prove on the fit­ness, de­fen­sive ar­eas and on the penalty cor­ner con­ver­sion rate,» Ram­pal, who helped In­dia win the Asia Cup af­ter 13 years on Novem­ber 5, told IANS.

The Ram­pal-led side won the Asia Cup edg­ing past China 5-4 in a tense shootout in the fi­nal. The vic­tory also en­sured In­dia a qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the 2018 hockey World Cup.

In­dia last won the Asia Cup title in 2004, when they de­feated Ja­pan 1-0 here. They, how­ever, failed to qual­ify for the last World Cup and fin­ished ninth in the 2010 edi­tion.

«It has been a very good tour­na­ment for the girls... we did it on our own, on our mer­its,» Ram­pal added.

Ram­pal, who be­came the youngest player to rep­re­sent In­dia in the 2010 World Cup said 2018 will be a vi­tal year for her side.

«Next year is very im­por- tant for the girls, the Asian Games, World Cup and Com­mon­wealth Games are fall­ing in the same year, but we are fo­cused about it and surely the team will do well,» the mer­cu­rial for­ward said.

Talk­ing about the con­tri­bu­tion made by coach Haren­dra Singh to the side, Rani said: «He is do­ing well, help­ing the team. The last coaches also did well and helped the team.»

The Haryana-born player also said that there can be changes in her squad for the up­com­ing tour­na­ments, de­pend­ing upon the re­spec­tive per­for­mance of the play­ers.

«Play­ers keep on chang­ing, it de­pends on their per­for­mance. Not nec­es­sary that we will have the same set of play­ers next year... some will im­prove their per­for­mance, some oth­ers will see a down­fall. We will play with the best side,» Ram­pal said. IANS

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