Hockey India named an 18-member women’s team to be captained by Rani Rampal for this month’s tour to England. India will play a total of five matches in the series that is scheduled to be played from 27 September to October in Marlow, England.
Experienced goalkeepers Savita, who is the vice captain as well, and Rajani Etimarpu retain their places in the side from the Olympic Test Event in Japan recently, while defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar and Salima Tete have also been named in the squad.
The midfield sees the return of experienced midfielder Namita Toppo, who makes a comeback to the side after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury. India’s midfield will also consist of other experienced players in Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz.
The forward-line features Rani, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and youngster Sharmila Devi who made her international debut during the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo.
“The balance and mixture of players in our team remains the same from previous tournaments as go into an important phase in our objective of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. It is good to have Namita Toppo back in the squad for the first time since Asian Games 2018, and she has given us confidence in training to select her for the upcoming tour,” coach Sjoerd Marijne said.
The Dutchman also said the tour will help in preparing the team to face USA in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha.
“We still have ten days of training before we leave for the matches in England, and I am sure these matches will serve as good preparation for our vital Olympic Qualifiers against USA,” he added.
“I think both the Great Britain team and USA play with a similar approach to their game, so it is beneficial for us to be playing against a strong opponent in their own backyard. We now focus on preparing well for the matches in England, but our main objective will remain to finalise some points we can improve from the Olympic Test Event as we go into the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers.”
Savita (Vice-Captain), Rajani Etimarpu
Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete
Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo
Rani Rampal (Captain), Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Sharmila Devi