Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2018: Captain Rani Rampal nursing injury, likely to miss tournament
With less than two weeks to go for the start of the Women's Asian Champions Trophy, the Indian team have suffered a major jolt. The Indian women are now assembled in the Bangalore camp and are undergoing preparations under the watchful eye of chief coach Harendra Singh.
It has been learnt by Sportskeeda that captain Rani Rampal is suffering the after-effects of an injury that she sustained at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Rani has been the livewire and the inspiration for the Indian women for quite a while and will indeed be difficult to replace.
At the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, too, Rani was the fulcrum around which the Indian team revolved and her energy and never-say-die attitude helped lift the team's sagging spirits in difficult situations. She had scored for India against Malaysia and South Africa and provided several assists as well for her teammates to score from.
The Asian Champions Trophy is scheduled to begin on May 13 in Donghae City, Korea. India will play the opening match of the tournament against hosts Japan. A tough test awaits Harendra Singh's team a couple of days later as they will face formidable China in their second match. The Chinese girls will be no doubt be seeking to avenge the defeat they suffered against the Indians in the Asia Cup final last year and the Indians will have to be at their very best.
Malaysia and Korea as well will pose a stiff challenge for the Indians in a tournament in which there will not be a single match where they can afford to let down their guard.
One hopes Rani will be fit before the World Cup in late July as India cannot afford to take the field in such a prestigious tournament without their key player and captain.
As far as the Asian Champions Trophy is concerned, the Indians may have to do without their inspirational skipper and hopefully, the others will step up and accept the challenge.