Seasoned midfielder Ritu Rani will lead the 18-member Indian women’s hockey team in the upcoming 8th Women’s Asia Cup, which will be played at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from September 21-27.
Ritu Rani has plenty of international experience, having played 166 times for India, while Chanchan Devi Thokchom will be her deputy.
The national team was picked by Hockey India selectors B P Govinda, Surinder Kaur, Mamta Kharab, chief coach Neil Hawgood, coach IS Gill and scientific advisor Matthew Tredrea along with Government observer Harbinder Singh during the two-day selection trials at NSNIS Patiala on August 30 and 31.
The Indian hockey eves are currently attending the national camp for the 8th Asia Cup at NSNIS, Patiala – the camp got underway on August 8.
The 8th Women’s Asia Cup is the continental qualification tournament for the FIH Women’s World Cup 2014 to be played in The Hague, The Netherlands from 31 May-14 June 2014.
Experienced fullback Joydeep Kaur returns to the side after she was not considered for the Hockey World League Round 3 event in Rotterdam. It was learnt that she was overlooked as she failed to attend the first phase of the national camp on account of her mother’s illness.
Joydeep, who featured in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, will lend solidity to the Indian backline, which will miss drag-flicker Jaspreet Kaur who underwent an operation on her knee recently.
The selectors have called up Soundarya Yendala after she missed the Rotterdam bus. Soundarya last played in the Hockey World League Round 2 event in New Delhi.
Striker Anupa Barla did not find a place in the 18-member squad, and her place was taken by Anuradha Devi Thokchom. Anupa is among the six standbys named for the Ipoh event.
Midfielders Navjot Kaur and Lilima Minz, both of whom played in the Rotterdam event, were only named as standbys for the Ipoh event.
What is less surprising is that the Junior World Cup shootout heroine Bigan Soy did not find a place in the squad as well as among the standbys.
India is placed in Pool A alongside China, hosts Malaysia and Hong Kong China while Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei are placed in Pool B.
India will open their campaign against Hong Kong China on 21 September followed by China on 22 September and hosts Malaysia on 24 September.
The team departs for Ipoh on September 16.
The squad: Goalkeepers: Rajani Etimarpu, Savita; Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Joydeep Kaur, Kirandeep Kaur, Sunita Lakra, Deepika, Namita Toppo, P Sushila Chanu, M N Ponnamma; Midfielders: Ritu Rani (captain), Chanchan Devi Thokchom (vice-captain), Soundarya Yendala, Lily Chanu; Forwards: Poonam Rani, Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thokchom.
Standbys: Sanarik Chanu, Asunta Lakra, Monika Malik, Navjot Kaur, Lilima Minz, Anupa Barla