India, on Tuesday, announced a 20-member team for the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022, which will be held in Spain and the Netherlands from July 1 to 17.
Long-serving captain Rani Rampal, who led the Indian women’s hockey team to a fourth-place finish at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has been left out of the squad for the FIH Women's World Cup due to injury.
In Rani Rampal’s absence, the Indian women’s hockey team will be captained by ace goalkeeper Savita Punia. Experienced campaigner Deep Grace Ekka will be the vice-captain.
Apart from Rani, who has still not fully recovered from her injury and is undergoing rehabilitation, the team features all players who were part of the Olympic campaign.
“We have chosen the best squad for the World Cup,” India chief coach Janneke Schopman said. “It is a mix of experience and young talent who have shown great promise when they were given a chance against top teams in the FIH Pro League.”
India have been drawn in Pool B alongside England, New Zealand and China for the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022.
Savita and Co. will face England, against whom they lost their bronze medal match at Tokyo 2020, in their opener at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. India will play all their group matches in Amstelveen.
India need to top the group to qualify for the quarter-finals, which will also be played in Amstelveen. They will move to Terrassa, Spain for the semis and final if they qualify.
The Dutch, with eight titles, are the most successful team at the women's Hockey World Cup and are also the reigning champions. India’s best finish in the quadrennial tournament is fourth, achieved at the inaugural edition in 1974.
In the previous edition of the prestigious event held in London, the Indian team made the quarter-finals but lost to silver-medallists Ireland in a shootout after a 0-0 stalemate in regulation time.
Indian team for FIH Women's World Cup 2022
Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (captain), Bichu Devi Kharibam
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (vice captain), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita
Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Salima Tete
Forwards: Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi
Replacement players: Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Sangita Kumari