NZ Test series will boost our preparations for World League Semi Final: Rani

| Updated: May 10, 2017 00:08 IST

New Delhi [India], May 9 (ANI): Rani, who will be leading the Indian's women's team in the five-match Test series against New Zealand starting in Midlands, has asserted that the tour will provide good preparation to the team for the World League Semi Final. "There is a lot of difference in how we play now. I believe we have improved in our fitness, technique and man-to-man marking. New Zealand Tour will be a good preparatory tour for us ahead of the World League Semi Final and this exposure will help us improve and also understand our weak points," stated Rani ahead of their departure from the national capital on Tuesday. The Indian women play the Test Series in New Zealand after a successful outing in West Vancouver, Canada where they won the World League Round 2 and qualified for the World League Semi Final to be played in Johannesburg. The team, under newly-appointed chief coach Sjoerd Marijne, began the season with a 5-0 win against Belarus in Bhopal. "Playing five times against a higher ranked team like New Zealand will open up areas that we require to work on in the next three months ahead of the World League Semi Final," expressed Marijne. The team's performance has been on an upswing post Rio Olympics last year. They were crowned champions at the 4th Women's Asian Champions Trophy apart from a series of wins this year and a good outing in New Zealand will only help improve their confidence level ahead of the event in Johannesburg which also happens to be a World Cup qualifier. "Playing with good pace, handling pressure in crunch situations and coming up with really good defence apart from emphasis on fitness was some of the focus areas during the 21-day camp in Bengaluru. I believe if we work our plans well then we stand a good chance against New Zealand," added Marijne. The team, led by Rani, features an experienced mix with the likes of Sushila Chanu, Ritu Rani, Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Vandana Katariya, Namita Toppo, Sunita Lakra, Navjot Kaur, Lilima Minz, Monika, Renuka Yadav, Nikki Pradhan, Savita among others. The team also has a new drag-flicker in Gurjit Kaur, newcomer Reena Khokhar who made her debut against Belarus in the five-match Test Series earlier this year and Udita, who will be making her debut is also in the fold. (ANI)