Hockey India on Friday named PR Sreejesh and Rani Rampal as captains of the senior men’s and women’s national teams, respectively, until the end of 2018. Sreejesh returns to the leadership role after it was handed over to Manpreet Singh following the star goalkeeper’s anterior cruciate ligament injury that he suffered in his right knee at the 2017 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Rani, meanwhile, continues in her position. Sreejesh was initially appointed captain ahead of the 2016 FIH Champions Trophy where India won a historic silver medal. He took over the job from Sardar Singh and continued to hold it for the Rio Olympics.
Sreejesh returned to action at the four-nation invitational hockey tournament in New Zealand in January 2018 putting up a strong performance where India finished second.
It is for the first time in 12 years that India failed to win a single medal in hockey at Commonwealth Games when they competed in the recently-concluded games at Gold Coast in Australia and it is being reported that some senior players met top HI officials and presented their explanation.
Rani, meanwhile stepped up into the role of captain guiding India to an Asia Cup win. Under her leadership, the team climbed from 12th to the 10th position. Always leading from the front, Rani also led the team to make a semifinal appearance, first in 12 years, at the XXI Commonwealth Games 2018.
“Besides being exceptional players, both Sreejesh and Rani command great respect. The two have led the country with great enthusiasm and we believe using their experience, they will continue to do that in this all-important calendar year where both the team’s have important tournaments like World Cup and Asian Games to play in. The idea behind announcing one captain for all events until the end of the year was to bring stability to the core of both the teams,” said Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed, Secretary General, Hockey India.