Rani to lead Indian women's hockey team for Spain tour
New Delhi, Jan 18 (PTI) Ace striker Rani Rampal will captain an 18-strong Indian women's team, while experienced goalkeeper Savita will be her deputy for the season opener in Spain starting Jan 26, Hockey India announced Friday.
The Indian Hockey team is set to play four matches with Spain and two matches against the Women's World Cup runners-up, Ireland.
The team will leave on January 24 for the Spain tour from Bengaluru, where they have been based for the past two weeks for the National Camp.
The team includes goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu. The Indian team for Spain Tour will feature defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam who makes a comeback after missing out on the World Cup and the Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang last year due to injury.
Defender Salima Tete, who led the India U-18 team to a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, has also been named in the team along with experienced Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Nikki Pradhan and drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur who will add strength to India's defence.
While the midfield features Lilima Minz, Karishma Yadav, Sonika and Neha Goyal, the forward-line will have the experience of Rani, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita and Navjot Kaur.
"The team has a different mix of players this time with some of the key players like Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo among few other experienced players being rested. The idea was to give more players a chance to experience playing at a top level so we can create more depth in our selection ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers," chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said.
Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Reena Khokhar, Deep Grace Ekka, Salima Tete, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam
Midfielders: Lilima Minz, Karishma Yadav, Sonika, Neha Goyal.
Forwards: Rani, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita, Navjot Kaur