Indian hockey

2018 will be a crucial year for Indian women’s hockey, says captain Rani Rampal

The India skipper believes Asia Cup success will raise expectations with three major tournaments - Asiad, CWG and World Cup - all due within a year.

From playing in the Rio Olympics after 36 years to recently winning the Asia Cup after 13 years, the team has seen a positive growth. The India women’s hockey team has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years.

Captain Rani Rampal, though, wants her team to let the success get into their heads and focus on the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World Cup all due within a year.

“2018 is a very important year for us and the game,” Rampal told TheField. “There are three major tournaments slated for next year. After winning the Asia Cup, people will naturally expect us to win more success in hockey,” she added.

“We don’t want to take a lot of pressure because it frankly does not help. We will just focus on the areas we need to work on and be mentally and physically strong.”

Making the World Cup spot on merit

By beating China in the final of the Asia Cup, India booked their spot in next year’s World Cup taking place in London. However, India was guaranteed a spot before winning the Asia Cup thanks to South Africa winning the African Cup of Nations. Before the tournament, South Africa had already qualified for the World Cup, thus India qualified due to the vacant spot.

However, Rampal was clear that she wanted the team to qualify on their own merit.

“When we play the World Cup at the back of our minds we will know that we did it on our own merit,” said the 27-year-old.

“If we are at the World Cup because of some other team, we might doubt our capability to be at the event itself. We didn’t want to be known as a team that was given a chance to be at the World Cup.

When we talk about the 1980 Olympics team that qualified, we know that they were invited to be at the tournament. We don’t want to be remembered like that. It was very important to qualify on our own,” said Rampal.

“We are so happy to win the Asia Cup after 13 years. We are happier to qualify for the World Cup on our own merit and that in itself is a big thing. That makes victory sweeter for us,” she added.

From Marijne to Harendra

Rampal praised new coach Harendra Singh for tactfully handling the transition after taking over from Sjored Marijne, who has since assumed the role of the men’s hockey team coach.

“When a new coach comes in place of another he does not change things immediately. It doesn’t work like that,” Rampal said. “The team was working hard and was working on certain things for a long time already. Sjored Marijne also worked brilliantly with us and got us to a good level. When Harendra sir arrived we got a boost in confidence and he was a reputed coach so we knew he would coach us well,” she added.

At the end of the day, it was up to the players to perform and not the coach, Rampal said.

“Every coach has his own strategy and end of the day hockey is a team game. Ultimately it is up to the players to perform. You can give a team the best coach in the world, but if the team doesn’t perform on the field, there is no point of getting such a coach. A coach can only guide us off the field with tactics and strategies.”

Personal joy in Asia Cup triumph

Rampal had a decent tournament herself. She netted five goals including two crucial penalty strikes in the penalty shootout against China in the final.

“Personally, it was a decent tournament for me,” she said. “I won silver in 2009 and bronze in 2013. So I wanted to win gold this time because then I would have all three medals. I still feel I could have done better in the tournament. I could have delivered better penalty corner drives and passes.”

Rampal backed the youngsters stepping up their game at crucial junctures. Rampal said her partnership with forwards Navjot and Navneet, who scored 10 goals between them proved crucial.

“I had a brilliant experience with Navneet and Navjot. They were exceptional on the forward line. We belong to the same academy and have played together for a long time so it was easy to understand each other’s game. We understood where and when do we have to pass the ball to each other and so on,” said Rampal.

Rampal also praised defenders Gurjit Kaur, who was on target with her penalty corner conversions for most part of the Asia Cup. Gurjit struck eight goals out of which seven were penalty corners.

“It is necessary to create penalty corners because field goals are hard to come by in hockey. We had decided to create as much penalty corners as possible. We gave Gurjit the opportunity to convert them and she did a brilliant job,” Rampad added.

Rampal, though, knows that the team still has to improve., especially their knack of giving away penalty corners easily.

“We need to improve our fitness and also work on our defence. We give away penalty corners easily or lose the ball easily. We need to stick to our attacking style of play but also fine tune it a bit,” said Rampal.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

The perpetual millennial quest for self-expression just got another boost

Making adulting in the new millennium easier, one step at a time.

Having come of age in the Age of the Internet, millennials had a rocky start to self-expression. Indeed, the internet allowed us to personalise things in unprecedented fashion and we really rose to the occasion. The learning curve to a straightforward email address was a long one, routed through cringeworthy e-mail ids like You know you had one - making a personalised e-mail id was a rite of passage for millennials after all.

Declaring yourself to be cool, a star, a princess or a hunk boy was a given (for how else would the world know?!). Those with eclectic tastes (read: juvenile groupies) would flaunt their artistic preferences with an elitist flair. You could take for granted that and would listen to Bollywood music or read Archie comics only in private. The emo kids, meanwhile, had to learn the hard way that employers probably don’t trust candidates with e-mail ids such as

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

And with chat rooms, early millennials had found a way to communicate, with...interesting results. The oldest crop of millennials (30+ year olds) learnt to deal with the realities of adolescent life hunched behind anonymous accounts, spewing their teenage hormone-laden angst, passion and idealism to other anonymous accounts. Skater_chick could hide her ineptitude for skating behind a convincing username and a skateboard-peddling red-haired avatar, and you could declare your fantasies of world domination, armed with the assurance that no one would take you seriously.

With the rise of blogging, millennial individualism found a way to express itself to millions of people across the world. The verbosity of ‘intellectual’ millennials even shone through in their blog URLs and names. GirlWhoTravels could now opine on her adventures on the road to those who actually cared about such things. The blogger behind could choose to totally ignore petunias and no one would question why. It’s a tradition still being staunchly upheld on Tumblr. You’re not really a Tumblr(er?) if you haven’t been inspired to test your creative limits while crafting your blog URL. Fantasy literature and anime fandoms to pop-culture fanatics and pizza lovers- it’s where people of all leanings go to let their alter ego thrive.

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

Then of course social media became the new front of self-expression on the Internet. Back when social media was too much of a millennial thing for anyone to meddle with, avatars and usernames were a window into your personality and fantasies. Suddenly, it was cool to post emo quotes of Meredith Grey on Facebook and update the world on the picturesque breakfast you had (or not). Twitter upped the pressure by limiting expression to 140 characters (now 280-have you heard?) and the brevity translated to the Twitter handles as well. The trend of sarcasm-and-wit-laden handles is still alive well and has only gotten more sophisticated with time. The blogging platform Medium makes the best of Twitter intellect in longform. It’s here that even businesses have cool account names!

Self-expression on the Internet and the millennials’ love for the personalised and customised has indeed seen an interesting trajectory. Most millennial adolescents of yore though are now grownups, navigating an adulting crisis of mammoth proportions. How to wake up in time for classes, how to keep the boss happy, how to keep from going broke every month, how to deal with the new F-word – Finances! Don’t judge, finances can be stressful at the beginning of a career. Forget investments, loans and debts, even matters of simple money transactions are riddled with scary terms like beneficiaries, NEFT, IMPS, RTGS and more. Then there’s the quadruple checking to make sure you input the correct card, IFSC or account number. If this wasn’t stressful enough, there’s the long wait while the cheque is cleared or the fund transfer is credited. Doesn’t it make you wish there was a simpler way to deal with it all? If life could just be like…

Created using Imgflip
Created using Imgflip

Lo and behold, millennial prayers have been heard! Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first, has now integrated UPI on its digital platform, making banking over the phone easier than ever. Airtel Payments Bank UPI, or Unified Payment Interface, allows you to transfer funds and shop and pay bills instantly to anyone any time without the hassles of inputting any bank details – all through a unique Virtual Payment Address. In true millennial fashion, you can even create your own personalised UPI ID or Virtual Payment Address (VPA) with your name or number- like rhea@airtel or 9990011122@airtel. It’s the smartest, easiest and coolest way to pay, frankly, because you’re going to be the first person to actually make instant, costless payments, rather than claiming to do that and making people wait for hours.

To make life even simpler, with the My Airtel app, you can make digital payments both online and offline (using the Scan and Pay feature that uses a UPI QR code). Imagine, no more running to the ATM at the last minute when you accidentally opt for COD or don’t have exact change to pay for a cab or coffee! Opening an account takes less than three minutes and remembering your VPA requires you to literally remember your own name. Get started with a more customised banking experience here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel Payments Bank and not by the Scroll editorial team.