- The tournament is scheduled to be held between January 21-28
- Defending champs India have been placed in Pool A along with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore
- The top four teams will qualify for the 2022 World Cup, to be held in Spain and Netherlands
India’s goalkeeper Savita Punia was named the captain of the 18-member squad women’s hockey team for the Asia Cup in Muscat, stated Hockey India on Wednesday. The squad included as many as 16 players who were part of the Tokyo Olympics team. Punia was asked to step in as captain in place of the team’s captain Rani Rampal, who is recovering from an injury in Bengaluru.
The tournament is scheduled to be held between January 21-28 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. India have been placed in Pool A along with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. They will open their title defence against Malaysia on the opening day. They will next take on Japan (Jan 23) and Singapore (Jan 24).
The semifinals will be played on January 26 and the final on January 28. The top four teams will qualify for the 2022 World Cup, to be held in Spain and Netherlands.
Experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka will be Savita’s deputy. The team includes goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu and defenders Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, and Udita.
The midfield includes Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Salima Tete, Jyoti and Navjot Kaur while the forwardline will see Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur and Sharmila Devi. The team also has Deepika (Junior) and Ishika Chaudhary as replacement athletes.
“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,” chief coach Janneke Schopman said.
“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.”
In the previous edition held in 2017, India beat China 5-4 in a tense shootout to lift the title.
Indian women’s team
Goalkeeper Savita (C), Rajani Etimarpu.
Defender Deep Grace Ekka (VC), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita. Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu, Monika, Neha, Salima Tete, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur.
Forward Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur, Sharmila Devi.
(Reported by PTI)