In the preparation of Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Indian Women’s Hockey team traveled to Kuala Lumpur to play a 6 match-series against Malaysia from June 9th to 17th.
13th ranked India won all the matches to return home with 6-0 victory in the six-match series against 21st ranked Malaysia.
It would have been better if India had chosen to travel to Europe instead of Malaysia. India could have played two series 3-tests against either two of the Spain (14th World Rank), Scotland (16th), Azerbaijan (17th) and Ireland (15th) or may be a tri-nation series. India would have got better teams to play with in Europe hence better test of their preparations resulting in more learning. If not Europe, they could have played a series against good domestic sides such as Railway or Haryana or Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy.
India started the series with 5-0 victory in opening game, followed by a tough 2-0 victory in 2nd match, where India could score a single goal in 2nd half, while Indian Goalkeeper had to save at least four goal bound shots by the Malaysian girls.
In the third match of the series, India won the match by 4-0, but Indian Goalie Savita was called in action specially on two Penalty Corners earned by Malaysia. The Indian girls could manage a 3-0 win in the fourth match against a defensive Malaysian side to pocket the series, but the hosts did not let the visitors score a single goal in the first half of the game.
Same story continued in fifth match, when India won 2-0 with a dry second half but managed to keep the sheet clean. In the last match, India won the match 5-2, but point to note is that Malaysians got two goals on the sheet in comparison to 21 of India.
Team’s midfielder and Captain Ritu Rani seemed excited on the win. Commenting on the victory she said, “We have outperformed and swept the board against team Malaysia. I am extremely elated with the manner my team has performed all the way through – confident and consistent. The clean sweep has lifted our spirits to a new high. I am delighted we lived up to the expectations of our coaches, selectors and the people of our country.”
Congratulating the team on their grand finish, Dr. Narinder Batra, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “A magnificent performance by our Women’s team has made us proud and has lived up to the expectations. With the kind of momentum the team has generated, we are certain that this is a good step forward in preparations for the Commonwealth Games 2014 to be held in Glasgow (Scotland). On behalf of Hockey India, I would like to congratulate the team and the coaches on their splendid performance and a spectacular 6-0 finish in the tournament.”