Hockey India on Wednesday named the 18-member team for the upcoming Women's Hockey Asia Cup which is scheduled to be held between January 21-28, 2022 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman.
The defending Champions India will battle it out against China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand for the title. The 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 forward line will see Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur, and Sharmila Devi. The team consists of Deepika (Junior) & 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 January 21 and will play Japan on January 23. India will take on Singapore in their last Pool A match on January 24. The semifinals will be played on January 26 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. (ANI)