New Delhi: Star striker Rani Rampal will lead a 20-member Indian women’s hockey team for the tour of New Zealand, beginning on January 25 in Auckland.
According to the squad named by Hockey India, goalkeeper Savita will be Rani’s deputy during the tour. The other players of the team are Rajini Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu, Nisha, Namita Toppo, Udita, Monika, Lilima Minz, Neha, Sonika, Sharmila Devi, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur. India’s first match of the tour is against the New Zealand Development squad 25 January, followed by games against the New Zealand women’s team 27 and 29 January.
The Indians will also play Great Britain on February 4 and then conclude the tour with another match against the New Zealand women’s team 5 February. Speaking about the tour, India’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “I want to use this tour to create more competition within this group. Although we are taking a 20-member team, in some matches we will use only 16 players because we play with 16 players at the Olympics and in some matches we will play 18 members. The players have to show their best and I want to see how they perform under pressure and stay in the right rhythm.” He added that the matches against world number 5 Great Britain and world number 6 New Zealand will provide a great opportunity for the Indian team to showcase their fearless attitude.
The Team: Rani (captain), Savita (vice-captain), Rajini Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu, Nisha, Namita Toppo, Udita, Monika, Lilima Minz, Neha, Sonika, Sharmila Devi, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Navjot Kaur.