Hockey India on Wednesday announced an 18-member women’s squad for the 15-day Europe Tour starting on September 5 in the Netherlands.
The team will be led by striker Rani Rampal while in-form goalkeeper Savita will shoulder the duties of vice captain, according to a press release.
The squad features a mix of youth and the experienced, with the defence formed by Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Gurjit Kaur, Navdeep Kaur and Rashmita Minz.
The goal will be kept by Savita and Rajani Etimarpu while the midfield will feature Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Karishma Yadav, Lilima Minz and Neha Goyal.
The forwardline will see Rani, the experienced Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Reena Khokhar and Lalremsiami.
In their previous outing in the Women’s Hockey World League (HWL), the team lost to England in the quarte-final and ended the competition in the eighth place.
The team began the year on a positive note with a five-match series win against Belarus followed by a podium finish at the World League Round 2 in Canada.
However, it is consistent performance that the women’s team seeks as they lost a five-match series to higher ranked New Zealand in Johannesburg.
“I wouldn’t say we dropped our performance after starting the year on a winning note. Our exposure against New Zealand was good despite the loses and we will be working on the mistakes we made in Johannesburg during the on-going camp in Bengaluru,” Rani said.
“We need to be more consistent and the team is positively working towards achieving better results,” she said.
Meanwhile, head coach Sjoerd Marijne said that the Holland experience will throw open a bigger pool of players to choose from for the all-important 2017 Women’s Asia Cup in Japan.
“We will be experimenting new combinations in Holland and try out different variations in penalty corner conversions and goal scoring,” the 43-year-old Dutch tactician said.
“Mental training is another aspect we are focused on in our ongoing camp apart from improving speed and core fitness.”
Goalkeepers: Savita (Vice Captain), Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Navdeep Kaur, Sunita Lakra, Rashmita Minz
Midfielders: Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Karishma Yadav, Lilima Minz, Neha Goyal
Forwards: Rani Rampal (Captain), Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Reena Khokhar, Lalremsiami