Women’s World Cup: Rani Rampal to captain India

Hockey India announces an 18-member squad for next month's tourney.

Rani Rampal will be leading India’s forward-line alongside Vandana Katariya.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Rani Rampal has been named the captain of the Indian team that will participate in the women’s World Cup to be held in London next month. She is part of an 18-member squad announced by Hockey India on Friday.

India has been placed in Pool B alongside host England, U.S. and Ireland.

Goalkeeper Savita has been named Rani’s deputy.

Rajani returns

The tournament will also witness the return of goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu, who had been rested for the tour of Spain.

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India’s defence responsibilities will be shouldered by Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur and youngster Reena Khokhar, who will make a comeback to the team. In the midfield, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Neha Goyal, Navjot Kaur and Nikki Pradhan will hold fort.

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Rani, who returned to play for India during the tour of Spain, will again be leading her team’s forward-line. The ace-striker will link up with the experienced Vandana Katariya, while Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami and Udita will provide them support.

‘Best mixture’

Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “It was not an easy decision to select the 18-member team as all the core probables have worked really hard in the national camp. However, we feel that this 18-member team will be the best mixture to be successful at the Women’s World Cup.”

Marijne was confident of his team’s capacity to perform well. He said, “We have a good blend of experience and youth in the team. The recent Spain tour has given the team great confidence to do well at the World Cup. Our focus is on the first match against England. In order to reach our first goal of qualifying for the quarterfinals, we can only think about the first match against the hosts and the team is excited and confident of starting well against them.”

Indian women’s team
  • Goalkeepers: Savita (vice-captain), Rajani Etimarpu
  • Defenders: Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar
  • Midfielders: Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz, Monika, Neha Goyal, Navjot Kaur, Nikki Pradhan
  • Forwards: Rani Rampal (c), Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Udita.