Star striker Rani Rampal on Tuesday returned to the 22-member women’s hockey team led by goalkeeper Savita for the upcoming FIH Pro League matches against the Netherlands.
The team also includes two newcomers in the form of midfielder Mahima Chaudhary and striker Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan, who will make their senior debut in the two matches to be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday and Saturday.
The Indian team, led by Rani, finished fourth in the Tokyo Olympics last year. This star striker did not play for the national team after that due to injury. Goalkeeper Savita will continue to be the captain of the team despite Rani’s return, while Deep Grace Ekka will be the vice-captain.
India, however, will miss the services of Tokyo Olympic participants Salima Tete, Sharmila Devi and Lalremsiami who are representing India at the Junior World Cup in South Africa.
The Indian women’s team is currently at the fourth position in the Pro League table with 12 points from six matches. Netherlands are at the top of the table with 17 points from six matches.
The team is as follows-
- Goalkeepers: Savita (Captain), Rajni Etimarpu
- Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (Vice Captain), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Rashmita Minz, Suman Devi Thodam
- Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Monica, Namita Toppa, Sonika, Neha, Mahima Chaudhary
- Forwards: Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan, Navneet Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Rani Rampal, Mariana Kujur
- Stand By: Upasana Singh, Preeti Dubey, Vandana Kataria
Head coach Yanek Schopman said – It is wonderful to be back on the field from the Hockey Pro League matches against the Netherlands now due to the England team not being able to tour.
Our junior players are playing in the World Cup and that will help us gauge the depth of our core group. I am looking forward to seeing some new faces on the field. He said that Rani worked hard to come back and if the practice goes well, I hope she can play in one match.