Salima Tete will lead the 20-member Indian junior women's hockey squad for the upcoming FIH Women's Junior World Cup. Ishika Chaudhary has been named as Salima's deputy. The Junior World Cup will commence on April 1 in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
The Indian junior hockey team is grouped in pool D along with Germany, Malaysia, and Wales. The Indian team will kick-start their campaign on April 2 against Wales, followed by a match against Germany the next day. India will play their last group-stage match against Malaysia on April 5.
The knock-out matches in the Junior World Cup will commence on April 8 with the quarter-finals, while the semi-finals will be played on April 10. The World Cup Final is slated to be held on April 12.
Indian junior hockey team right mix of youth and experience
The 20-member Indian squad also includes goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam, who recently made her senior India debut in the FIH Pro League matches against Germany.
Akshata Abaso Dekhale and Sangita Kumari, who made their India debuts in FIH Pro League matches recently, also find a place.
Salima Tete will also have the services of Sharmila Devi and Lalremsiami, both of whom played at the Tokyo Olympics. Lalremsiami was also part of the Indian team in the 2018 FIH Women's World Cup. Having played in the senior team event, she would play a key role for the junior team.
Speaking about the squad, the Indian team's chief coach Janneke Schopman said the experience of having players who played for the Indian senior team will be an advantage.
"After a long wait, our junior players are definitely ready to start their World Cup experience. It was difficult to finalize the selection as all players showed a lot of progress in the past few months, which was great to see."
She also added:
"With a couple of players making their debut for the senior team recently, I believe that the added experience will have a positive influence. The team overall has a nice mixture of different skills and talents and I am excited to see them taking on the best teams in the world at U-21 level."
The Indian junior women's team's best show in recent times was at the FIH Junior Women's World Cup in 2013 when they finished on the podium with a bronze medal, beating England in a shootout.