The youngster has struggled to get into the 18-member squad on a regular basis in recent times.

Rashmita Minz has been in and around the Indian women’s hockey team set-up for the past four years, but she only has 13 international caps to her name in that period of time.

In the four years since making her debut in 2016 as an 18-year-old against Australia when the team played three matches in Melbourne under then chief coach Neil Hawgood, She has only been able to play two more tournaments for the country. However, the young defender is determined to start afresh in this next phase of her career.

“I was really young when I came into the senior team in 2016, and since then it has always been challenging for me personally. But I have made sure that I have kept my work ethic and have given my best in all the national camps. It has been difficult because when you don’t get picked, doubt creeps in. But I am also really thankful to head coach Sjoerd Marijne for having spoken to me at length about my role in the team, and what he expects from me,” said Rashmita Minz.

She remarked, “That conversation and communication has really helped me improve. I know what I need to do more frequently and more consistently, and I am just focusing on doing the basics right whenever I am putting on the India colours, even if it is in the national camp only. I do understand that having a good defensive unit can help the team in a lot of ways, especially in creating more attacking opportunities, which can subsequently lead to more scoring opportunities. Therefore, for me as a defender, it is imperative to be on top of my game and keep learning now.”

Adding that entering the team’s set-up at a younger age means that she still has time for a second debut of sorts, Rashmita Minz said, “I think being 22 years of age at this moment helps me, because I know I have many more years of good hockey in me, and that I can still give so much to the team. I have had the time now to work on a lot of technical areas and also improve my physical fitness.”

“I have understood that there is room for improvement, and for development, and that has made my job much easier because I have created some targets for myself, and I will be making sure that I give my best to achieve those targets,” she concluded.