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Savita to lead India in Women's Hockey Asia Cup

BALBIR SINGH | January 12, 2022 08:47 PM

NEW DELHI: Ace goalkeeper Savita will lead an 18-member Indian Women's Hockey team in the upcoming Women's Hockey Asia Cup which is scheduled to be held between January 21 to 28 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman.

Defending champions India will battle it out against China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand for the title. Top four-teams from this tournament will qualify for the 2022 FIH Women's Hockey World Cup to be held in Spain and Netherlands.

The Indian team features a formidable lineup with 16 players who were part of the historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. Ace goalkeeper Savita will lead the team, in the absence of Rani who is undergoing rehabilitation in Bengaluru, and experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka has been named as the Vice Captain. The team includes goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu and defenders Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, and Udita.

The midfield includes Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Salima Tete, Jyoti and Navjot Kaur while the forwardline will see Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur and Sharmila Devi. Team consists of Deepika (Junior) and Ishika Chaudhary who will be the two Replacement Athletes for the event.

"This is a very important tournament for us and I am happy with the team we have chosen which is a mix of some very experienced players along with talented youngsters who have shown great potential at the international level. Though we were a bit disappointed with how things panned out for us at the Asian Champions Trophy, we were able to return to camp in SAI, Bengaluru and put in some good sessions of hockey to prepare well for this challenge, " explained chief coach Janneke Schopman.

The defending champions are grouped in pool A along with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. They will begin their campaign on opening day against Malaysia on 21 January and will play Japan on 23 January. India will take on Singapore in their last pool A match on January 24. The Semifinals will be played on 26 January and the final match on January 28.

In the previous edition held in 2017, India beat China 5-4 in a tense shootout to lift the title.

The team

Goalkeepers: Savita (C), Rajani Etimarpu.

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (VC), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita.

Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Salima Tete, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur.

Forwards: Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur, Sharmila Devi.

2 Replacement Athletes: Deepika (Junior), Ishika Chaudhary.

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