In an announcement on September 12, the Hockey India revealed the 18-member women’s team for the upcoming England tour. The tournament will begin from September 27. According to the schedule and pairing, the team will be required to play five matches against the rival Great Britain. The command of the team will be held in the hands of Rani followed by Savita who will be the vice-captain of the Indian women Hockey team.
The Indian Hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne told media in the conference that, "The balance and mixture of players in our team remain the same from previous tournaments as go into an important phase in our objective of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. It is good to have Namita Toppo back in the squad for the first time since Asian Games 2018, and she has given us confidence in training to select her for the upcoming tour."
In his statement, he further added that “We still have ten days of training before we leave for the matches in England, and I am sure these matches will serve as good preparation for our vital FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha against the USA on November 2019."
Previously the women hockey team had won the Olympic Test Event which was hosted by Japan. After attaining success then, Goalkeepers Savita and Rajani Etimarpu continued to play from their positions. Also, Salima Tete, Reena Khokhar, Gurjit Kaur, and Defender Deep Grace Ekka have also been included in the team. The Indian Hockey team will acknowledge the return of Namita Toppo to the midfield with her previous experience. Toppo will play on-field after a long gap on the sidelines due to her injury. Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Neha Goyal, and Lilima Minz will also cover the midfield along with Namita Toppo.
The youngest player of the team Sharmila Devi, who started her career during the Olympic Test Event held at Tokyo, will also be a part of the team for the forward-line. Other players on the same position will include Rani, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, and Navjot Kaur.
According to the coach, the team looks forward to playing against the USA in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers which are to be held in Odisha. Therefore, playing against Britain will prepare the team for the same. In his statement, he said, "I think both the Great Britain team and the USA play with a similar approach to their game; so, it is beneficial for us to be playing against a strong opponent in their own backyard. We now focus on preparing well for the matches in England, but our main objective will remain to finalise some points we can improve from the Olympic Test Event as we go into the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha,"
The new India women’s hockey team members:
Goalkeepers: Savita (VC), Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Salima Tete, Deep Grace Ekka, Reena Khokhar, Gurjit Kaur
Midfielders: Nikki Pradhan, Lilima Minz, Namita Toppo, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha Goyal
Forwards: Rani (C), Vandana Katariya, Navjot Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Navjot Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami