New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) Ace striker Rani Rampal will lead the 20-member India women’s team on the New Zealand tour, scheduled to begin on January 25 in Auckland. Star goalkeeper Savita will serve as her deputy.
Apart from the duo, the squad announced by Hockey India on Tuesday consists of Rajini Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu, Nisha, Namita Toppo, Udita, Monika, Lilima Minz, Neha, Sonika, Sharmila Devi, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Navjot Kaur.
While the team’s first match is against the New Zealand Development Squad on January 25, they will play against their New Zealand counterparts on January 27 and 29, followed by a match against Great Britain on February 4 and then conclude the tour with another match with the New Zealand women the next day.
Speaking about the tour, chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “I want to use this tour to create more competition within this group. Although we are taking a 20-member team, in some matches we will use 16 players because we play with 16 players at the Olympics and in some matches we will play 18 members. The players have to show their best and I want to see how they perform under pressure and stay in the right rhythm for matches.”
He said that playing against the world no.5 England/Great Britain and world No.6 New Zealand will provide a great opportunity to be at their best.