Five Odisha girls in hockey squad to play 5-match series against NZ

New Delhi: Odisha girls Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz and Anupa Barla will be playing the five-match upcoming Test series against New Zealand, starting from May 14 at Midlands. Striker Rani Rampal will skipper the 20-member Indian women’s hockey squad.

Veteran defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, who is making a comeback after nearly eight months of rehabilitation due to an injury, will shoulder the duties of vice-captain of the side.

The team includes a mix of experienced and the young with the defence line formed by Deep Grace Ekka, Udita, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Sushila and Gurjit Kaur — who also doubles up as the team’s only drag-flicker.

The goal will be kept by Savita, who had a fantastic outing at the Women’s Hockey World League Round 2 where she was adjudged Goal Keeper of the Tournament. Rajani Etimarpu will travel as the second goal keeper in the team.

The midfield will be formed by the experienced Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Renuka Yadav, Nikki Pradhan and Reena Khokar. The forwardline features Rani, Vandana Katariya, Preeti Dubey, Sonika and Anupa Barla.

The team has had a great start to the new season with some remarkable wins. After kicking off the year with an emphatic five-match Test Series win against Belarus, the women’s team returned victorious from the Women’s Hockey World League Round 2 beating Chile in the final and securing their berth for the World League Semi Final in June.

(With inputs from IANS)

 

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