Striker Rani Rampal will lead the 18-member Indian women’s hockey squad while goalkeeper Savita Punia will serve as her deputy in the upcoming World Cup, slated to begin in London on July 21.
Women’s Hockey Squad – Who made the cut?
Fellow Goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu has made a return to the team after being rested for the Spain Tour.
India’s defence will consist of Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur and youngster Reena Khokhar, who makes a comeback into the team.
In the midfield, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Neha Goyal, Navjot Kaur and Nikki Pradhan will hold fort.
The ace-striker and captain Rani Rampal will be linking up with the experienced Vandana Katariya while Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami and Udita will also provide them support in attack.
Women’s Hockey Squad – The Selection Process
Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said that it was not easy picking up the World Cup squad and hoped that the selected players would prove to be the best combination.
“It was not an easy decision to select the 18-member team as all the core probables have worked really hard in the National Camp. However, we feel that this 18-member team will be the best mixture to be successful at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018,” Sjoerd Marijne said.
The coach further said that the squad is a perfect blend of young and experienced players while adding the Spain Tour has given them a lot of confidence.
“We have a good blend of experience and youth in the team. The recent Spain Tour has given the team great confidence to do well at the World Cup. Our focus is on the first match against England,” Marijne said.
“In order to reach our first goal of qualifying for the quarter-finals, we can only think about the first match against the hosts and the team is excited and confident of starting well against them in front of a packed stadium,” he added.
India have been placed in Pool B, along with hosts and world number two England, world number seven USA and world number 16 Ireland.
The full women’s hockey squad for the World Cup is as follows:
Goalkeepers – Savita (VC), Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders – Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar
Midfielders – Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Neha Goyal, Navjot Kaur, Nikki Pradhan
Forwards – Rani, Vandana Kataria, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita.