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Hockey India names 20-member team for FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup

Goalkeeper Savita will lead, and Deep Grace Ekka will be her deputy.

Hockey India on Tuesday named the 18-member Indian team for the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup to be held in Netherlands and Spain from  July 1 to 17.

Experienced Rani, who led India in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, does not find her name in the list. Rani is presently accompanying the national team in its final round of FIH Pro League games in Europe. Rani played her 250th international last week.

India is grouped in Pool B along with England, New Zealand and China. It will start its campaign on July 3 against England, to whom it lost the bronze medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Indian team will be led by ace goalkeeper Savita. Deep defender Deep Grace Ekka will be the  vice-captain.

The 20-member squad includes goalkeepers Savita and Bichu Devi Kharibam; defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan and Udita; midfielders Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Sonika and Salima Tete; forwards
Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur and Sharmila Devi. Upcoming young stars Akshata Abaso Dhekale and Sangita Kumari have been named as replacement players.

In the previous edition of the prestigious quadrennial event held in London, the Indian team reached the quarterfinals where it lost to Ireland in a shootout after a 0-0 stalemate in regulation time. Ireland, who ousted India 3-1 in the shootout, went on to play the final and ended its campaign with a silver medal.

Speaking about the team selection, Chief Coach Janneke Schopman said, “We have chosen the best squad for the World Cup. It is a mix of experience and young talent who have shown great promise when they were given a chance against top teams in the FIH Pro League.”

“Except Rani, who is still not fully recovered from injury rehabilitation, the team has all the players who were part of the Olympic campaign with inclusions like Jyoti and Sonika who have done well in their roles when given a chance. We will also have Sangita and Akshata who will travel with the team as replacement players. The team is absolutely excited and eager to begin their World Cup campaign and we will utilize the next ten days to fine tune our game basis analysis from Pro League performances,” added Schopman.

The Indian team will play its group stage matches in Amstelveen, Netherlands,  and if it tops the group, it will play the quarter finals too in Amstelveen before it moves to Terrassa, Spain, for the semis and final. The crossover matches for pool B will be played in Spain.

Prabhjot Singh

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