The Indian women's hockey team, led by skipper Rani, have left for the 9th Women's Asia Cup 2017, which begins on October 28 in Kakamigahara, Japan.
The team will go into the tournament as the 4th highest ranked Asian team in the world and will be up against the likes of China, Malaysia and Singapore in Pool A.
It is going to be an important tournament for the Indian team as they look to confirm their spot at next year's Women's Hockey World Cup in London and newly-appointed Chief Coach Harendra Singh will look to start his tenure with the Women's team on a good note in Japan.
The team have been training at the National Camp at SAI, Bengaluru for the past four weeks after returning from their Europe Tour of Netherlands and Belgium in September 2017.
Chief Coach Harendra Singh is confident that his team can produce good performances against higher ranked teams in China, Korea and Japan when they face off in the upcoming tournament.
"We have been training well at the National Camp for the past four weeks in order to prepare for the Women's Asia Cup in Japan. The 18-member team has had the right exposure in the past few months as they have toured Europe and played against tough opponents. At the Women's Asia Cup, we will look to perform well in order to confirm qualification for next year's World Cup," said Chief Coach Harendra Singh.
Ahead of the team's departure, captain Rani said, "We have been working on our structure and defensive strategies in order to make the required improvements in our game. Speed also plays a huge role in the hockey that is played these days, and we are confident that we can perform well against the best teams in Asia keeping in mind that we cannot take any team lightly in such a big competition."
India go into the tournament as the 12th ranked team in the world and will be up against three other Asian teams who are ahead of them in the FIH World Rankings with China being ranked 8th, Korea 9th and Japan 11th.
India will start their campaign against Singapore.