Striker Rani Rampal returns to lead a 18-member Indian women’s hockey team for the three-match series against Korea, starting on May 20, Hockey India announced on Friday. Goalkeeper Savita will be deputy to Rani, who returns after missing Malaysia tour due to injury, in the team under chief coach Sjoerd Marijne. The matches will help the Indian team in preparing for the FIH Women’s Series Finals, which is scheduled to be held from June 15-23 in Hiroshima, Japan. Since the start of the year, the Indian team has toured Spain and Ireland. India won two matches, drawn three and lost one. The team also toured Malaysia where they registered a 4-0 series victory.
Savita and Rajani Etimarpu will be guarding the goalpost in the three-match Korea tour while defender Gurjit Kaur makes a return to the team after having missed the Malaysia tour due to injury. Salima Tete, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Karishma Yadav and Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam are the other defenders, while Monika, Navjot Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz will command the midfield for India. Captain Rani will be joined by Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Jyoti and Navneet Kaur in attack.
“I am happy with the return of experienced players like Rani and Gurjit Kaur in the squad, and pleased that they are fully fit to play these matches. This tour will give us the chance to take a good final step against a strong opponent in our preparation for the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019,” Marijne said. “We have identified areas in our game that needed improvement from our past two tours this year, and have worked on them in training, and it is now time to show the improvement in the matches.”
Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Salima Tete, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Karishma Yadav, Gurjit Kaur, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam
Midfielders: Monika, Navjot Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz
Forwards: Rani (captain), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Jyoti, Navneet Kaur.