New Delhi: Rani will lead the 20-member Indian women’s hockey team while goalkeeper Savita will serve as her deputy in their upcoming tour to Spain, beginning June 12. The Indian team will play five matches against Spain as an exposure tour ahead of the much-important Hockey Women’s World Cup in London in July. Youngster Swati too has been called up as goalkeeper for the tournament.
India’s defence will see the return of experienced Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, who was rested for the recently-held 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy where the team won a silver medal. Sushila will be joined by Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Suman Devi Thoudam, Deepika and drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur. In the midfield, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Neha Goyal, Navjot Kaur and Nikki Pradhan will hold fort.
India’s forward-line will see skipper Rani Return to action after being rested for the Asian Champions Trophy. Experienced forward Vandana Katariya, who was adjudged as the Player of The Tournament in Asian Champions Trophy, too has been included along with Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita and Anupa Barla.
“In this tournament, the players will get a last chance to show the best of themselves ahead of the selections for the upcoming Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018. Also, this tournament provides us a platform to fine tune our game before the World Cup and the Asian Games in Jakarta,” expressed chief coach Sjoerd Marijne. On selecting a 20-member squad, Marijne said, “We will rotate players a lot during this tour because as much as getting good matches ahead of important tournament like the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 is essential, keeping the players fresh is also important.
The full list is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Savita (VC), Swati, Defenders: Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Suman Devi Thoudam , Deepika, Gurjit Kaur, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam Midfielders: Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Neha Goyal, Navjot Kaur, Nikki Pradhan Forwards: Rani (C), Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita, Anupa Barla.