After a successful campaign in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi, forward player Poonam Rani is geared-up to take on a new assignment along with the Women National Hockey Team in the upcoming Hawke’s Bay Cup 2015 in New Zealand scheduled to start on 11th April.
In the new environment and new teams, Poonam Rani and her team-mates will face real challenges against the world’s toughest defence line-ups in the tournament. Along with forward players Vandana Katariya (Women Player of the Year) and Rani Rampal, Poonam Rani are working on out of the box strategies to make in-roads in the opponents’ defence line-up as top-ranked teams such as Australia and New Zealand may get physical during the attacks and compact defence line-ups of China and Korea.
Poonam feels Australia and hosts New Zealand will be tough challenge, while Deepika is looking forward to defend sharp attacks of China and Hockeyroos. Young mid-fielder Namita Toppo is expecting a disciplined and power packed performance from all the Indian players against such a quality teams in the tournament.
Speaking on the tournament, Poonam Rani said, “Playing against the top teams, especially Australia and host team New Zealand will be a real challenge for us. They have a very strong defence chain and they tackle the strikers by attacking back and which thwarts the efforts to break the shackle and penetrate the D. So the aim is to stick to the strategies that we are putting in place to counter them. Here speed will be important if we have to break their defence chain and create scoring opportunities. We are working on these aspects and improving our physical fitness as we have to be energetic till the final whistle. Beating the Tasmanian neighbours will be the real and biggest challenge for us.”
The preparatory camp, which commenced on 22nd March and will conclude on 7th April with the players working hard on their game as they understand that this tournament is important before they play the Hockey World League Semi-Final, Belgium in June this year.