Rani to lead Indian women’s hockey team at Commonwealth Games

Ace striker Rani Rampal will captain an 18-strong Indian women’s team, while experienced goalkeeper Savita will shoulder the duties of vice-captain at next month’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Hockey India said today.

The Indian team has been grouped in Pool A along with Malaysia, Wales, England and South Africa at the multi-sport event scheduled to begin on April 4. India will begin their campaign on April 5 against Wales.

27-year-old Savita, who is making a return to the team after having been rested for the recently concluded tour of South Korea, will be accompanied by Rajani Etimarpu in goal.

The defence unit is packed with experience and grit as Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur and Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam will look to keep out the opposition’s attacks.

Monika, Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz will form the midfield while Rani, Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Navneet Kaur and Poonam Rani, who returned to the squad during South Korea tour, will form India’s attack.

The Indian team is currently ranked No. 10 in the world and will face stiff competition from higher ranked teams such as World No. 2 England, World No. 4 New Zealand and World No. 5 hosts Australia.

However, Chief Coach Harendra Singh is confident that the determined team can cause huge upsets on the back of winning the five-match series in South Korea.

We have played with the same set of players for a long period so the players have formed a great understanding among themselves which was evident during our 2017 Asia Cup triumph,” he said.

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