Bengaluru, March 2: The Indian women's hockey squad on Friday left for Jinchun, South Korea where they will play a five-match series with the hosts starting March 5.
Under the watchful eyes of chief coach Harendra Singh, the 20 players were chosen out of the 34 national campers at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre here. The camp focused on fitness, speed and skill development.
While the 20-members will compete in Korea between March 5 to 11, the remaining members of the camp will continue to train in SAI, Bengaluru ahead of their preparations for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
"This is our first event after winning the Asia Cup last year so naturally the team is riding on confidence. The team is upbeat and eager to play our first international tour of the season and Korea can be a tough team to play in their home conditions so we look forward to the challenge," captain Rani Rampal said in a media release ahead of the their departure.
"Korea Tour will help us analyse our game and find out if there are short comings in the way we play ahead of the CWG. We have specifically trained on our marking, tried different variations in our attack during the camp and we want to execute these strategies against an international team. We have been playing matches against local men's team to get tougher too," added the forward.
In the absence of ace goalkeeper Savita who has been rested, debut goalkeeper Swati and Rajani Etimarpu will be put to test. With experienced defender Deepika and forward Poonam Rani returning to squad after a long injury haul, Rani feels the team is a perfect mix.
"It is a big boost to have Deepika and Poonam back in the squad. We also have talented youngsters like defender Suman Devi Thoudam, midfielder Udita and forward Lalremsiami, I think we have a very good mix with a perfect balance of young and experienced players," Rani emphasized.