New DelhiSeasoned goalkeeper Savita was named captain of the 22-man Indian team on Monday, which will make its debut this month during the FIH Women’s Hockey Pro League game against Spain in Bhubaneswar.
In the absence of Rani Rampal, who is still recovering from injury in Bengaluru, Savita will remain in charge, while defender Deep Grace Ekka will replace her in the two-legged game against Spain on February 26 and 27.
Led by Savita, the Indian women finished third in the Asian Cup in Muscat, Oman last month.
The 22-man squad will get a new face in the young Jharkhand, attacker Sangita Kumari, who will make her debut next weekend.
The team has three goalkeepers in Savita, Rajani Etimarpu and Bichu Devi Khairbam, who complements the squad.
Four players have been added to the Indian team from the Asia Cup roster.
In addition to Bichu Devi, there are three additional players: defender Ishika Chaudhary, midfielder Namita Toppo, striker duo Sangita and Rajwinder Kaur.
Hockey India selectors also named five standby players – Rashmita Minz, Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Sonika, Mariana Kujur and Aishwarya Rajesh Chauvan – for the double header.
Commenting on the team, head coach Janneke Schopman said: “We are delighted to start our Pro League home games against Spain. We have had two good weeks of training after our return from Oman and I think the selected 22 players will be ready to play. to show what they can do against Spain.
“When you have a strong pool of players, team selection is always going to be difficult, but I’m happy to see the new players improve a lot and show a lot of promise.”
Schopman said India will have to be sharp to beat Spain in their opening game in the FIH Pro League.
“Spain is a strong opponent, they have consistently performed at a high level, but narrowly missed the semi-finals in Tokyo and took the bronze medal at the last World Cup.
“They are very skilled and play from a tight defense, so we want to use our own speed and skills and strong defense to fight them well.”
Goalkeepers: Savita (Captain), Bichu Devi Kharibam, Rajani Etimarpu.
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (Vice Captain), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary.
Midfielders: Nisha, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Jyoti, Monika, Neha, Navjot Kaur, Namita Toppo.
Attackers: Vandana Katariya, Sharmila Devi, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Sangita Kumari, Rajwinder Kaur.
Standby: Rashmita Minz, Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Sonika, Mariana Kujur, Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan.
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