Savita Punia to lead an experienced 18-member women’s team in Birmingham

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Hockey India on Thursday named the 18-member Indian women’s hockey team that will compete at the Commonwealth Games, scheduled to begin from July 28 in Birmingham, England.

India is placed in Pool A along with England, Canada, Wales and Ghana, and will begin their campaign against the African side on July 29.

The team will be captained by Savita Punia and vice-captained by experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka.

The squad includes goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu. Defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita have been named in the squad along with midfielders Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur and Salima Tete.

The forwardline features the very experienced Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi and youngster Sangita Kumari.

In their previous outing at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, India finished fourth after a loss to England in the Bronze medal match. However, after an impressive campaign in their debut FIH Pro League season, where they finished third behind champions Argentina and the Netherlands, the Indian team is keen on a podium finish in Birmingham.

“We have chosen an experienced side for the Commonwealth Games and the players believe they have a good shot at a medal this time,” said chief coach Janneke Schopman.

“The team is upbeat after a good outing in the Pro League and understands very well that the expectations are also high. We would have finished our World Cup campaign only days before the CWG so it was very essential for us to pick a physically fit team as the recovery time between the two events is just about 10 days,” added Schopman.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Savita (Captain), Rajani Etimarpu

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

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

Forwards: Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Sangita Kumari.

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