Hockey India selected the 18-member team for the forthcoming Women's Hockey Asia Cup, which will be hosted at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman, from January 21 to 28 in 2022.
India, the incumbent champion, will compete for the championship against Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, and China. The top four teams in this competition will advance to the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands in 2022.
The Indian squad boasts a tough lineup that includes 16 players that competed in the historic fourth place result in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In the absence of Rani, who is undergoing rehabilitation in Bengaluru, Savita will lead the squad, while seasoned defender Deep Grace Ekka has been selected Vice-Captain. Rajani Etimarpu is the goalie, and Gurjit Kaur, Udita, and Nikki Pradhan are the defenders.
Nisha, Monika, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Salima Tete, Neha, Navjot Kaur and Jyoti,will play in the midfield, while Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur, and Lalremsiami will play on the forward line. Deepika (Junior) and Ishika Chaudhary, the two Replacement Athletes for the event, make up the squad.
Janneke Schopman, the Chief Coach, explained, “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.”
Pool A includes the defending champions, as well as Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan. On January 21, they will face Malaysia in their first match, followed by a match against Japan on January 23. On January 24, India will play Singapore in their last Pool A encounter. On January 26, the semifinals will take place, followed by the final on January 28.