Experienced forward Rani Rampal has been out of the Indian women’s hockey team since their eye-popping fourth-place finish at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The 27-year-old Shahabad girl has been rendered hors de combat following a nagging hamstring injury that has probably taken more time to heal than the player herself could have imagined in the first place. The two-time Olympian, two-time Asian Games medallist and two-time World-Cupper was forced to give the Asian Champions Trophy, Asia Cup and the first six games of the Pro Hockey League against China, Spain and Germany a miss. In all, Rani missed playing 12 international games.
The 249-international capped striker going by her own high standards over the years, appeared off the boil at the Tokyo Olympics – both in terms of scoring or creating goals for team-mates – she scored just one goal but a crucial one in the much-win tie against Ireland after she was nicely set up by Navneet Kaur. But one cannot deny the experience that Rani brings to the national team. “Rani is recovering well and is making good improvement at the camp in Bhubaneshwar. Injuries are part and parcel of a player’s career. She is such an experienced player and has been serving Indian hockey for last twelve years or so. I’m sure the team will benefit from her presence. We can’t give you a precise timeline for her return to international action but I can tell you that she is well on her way to recovery,” says Chairman of Selectors for the Indian Women’s Hockey Team Syed Ali.
The vastly experienced forward in not expected to feature in the upcoming Pro League games against England and the Netherlands in the first week of April. She is at best, expected to be available for selection for India’s away-from-home Pro League Games against Belgium Argentina and USA to be held in the month of June. India are slated to Belgium on June 11 and 12 at Antwerp, while they are slated to lock horns with Argentina and USA at Rotterdam on June 18 &19 and June 21 & 22 respectively.