Hockey India announced an 18-member women’s squad for the upcoming Tour of England to be held in Marlow from September 27 to October 4. The squad has been selected keeping in mind the Olympic Qualifiers that the team will play after returning from England.

As expected, Rani Rampal will lead the squad with Savita as her deputy for the five-match series against Great Britain. “We still have ten days of training before we leave for the matches in England, and I am sure these matches will serve as good preparation for our vital FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha against USA in November 2019,” chief coach Sjoerd Marijne was quoted as saying by IANS.

Speaking further, Marijne talked about the team’s agenda to treat the series in Britain as preparatory tour for the much-important qualifiers. “The balance and mixture of players in our team remain the same from previous tournaments as go into an important phase in our objective of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020,” the Dutchman added.

He went on length to even say that Great Britain and USA play a similar kind of hockey and thus the upcoming tour could prove beneficial for the Indian women. He said, “I think both the Great Britain team and USA play with a similar approach to their game, so it is beneficial for us to be playing against a strong opponent in their own backyard.”

“We now focus on preparing well for the matches in England, but our main objective will remain to finalise some points we can improve from the Olympic Test Event as we go into the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha,” Marijne said.

The Indian squad looks like this

Goalkeepers: Savita (VC), Rajani Etimarpu

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete

Midfielders: Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo

Forwards: Rani (C), Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and Sharmila Devi