Indian women’s hockey captain Rani said the tour of Argentina will help the team understand where they stand nearly a year after the coronavirus pandemic abruptly halted all competitions.

The women’s side will become the first of India hockey teams to resume international matches as it plays the first of the eight games in Argentina on Sunday.

“It has been a strange period for sports people around the world, but to be resuming doing what we love the most, it is the best feeling,” Rani was quoted as saying by Hockey India.

“We are looking forward to testing ourselves against some strong teams, and also understanding where we stand at the moment,” she added.

Rani reiterated that a good show in the series will boost her side’s confidence heading into this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I think this tour is really important for us in terms of resuming competitive hockey.

“We have a crucial year to look forward to, and with such matches against strong sides, we will be able to keep working hard towards our goal of preparing well for the Tokyo Olympics,” Rani said.

The 26-year-old forward knows the importance of starting the all-important Olympic year well, but also understands that it will take time to get into the groove after staying away from competitions for nearly a year.

“We know what our aim is this year, and we want to make sure that we start the year in the perfect manner, put in some excellent performances, and build some momentum again,” Rani said.

“However, we also understand and take into consideration that we haven’t played an international match with the maximum intensity in these past 9-10 months, and that we might take time to get back into our groove, and that is what this tour is all about,” she added.

With PTI Inputs