In a four-nation tournament in Darwin, Australia, Defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam is all set to lead a 17-member Indian women’s hockey team. The tournament that is seen as a preparation for the Rio Olympics would begin from 30 May 2016.
The tournament will feature hosts, world No. 3 Australia, world number 4 New Zealand and world No. 10 Japan. Sushila will replace regular skipper Ritu Rani as captain. Ritu has been rested and Deepika has been retained vice-captain.
The senior players in the squad include Poonam Rani and Vanadana Kataria form the core group. Youngsters in defender Nikki Pradhan and midfielder Preeti Dubey are in the team. Eighteen year old Dubey was named the Asunta Lakra Upcoming Player of the Year Award (Women U-21) at the second Hockey India Annual Awards earlier in 2016.
On her new role, Sushila said: “It is a huge honour to be named captain of the squad for the tour. We have already faced Japan and New Zealand earlier at the Hawke’s Bay Cup. Our chief aim will be to perform well against Japan and Australia and analyse their game at close quarters since they are in our pool at the Olympics.”
Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Deepika (vice-captain), Sunita Lakra, Nikki Pradhan, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam (captain), Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli
Midfielders: Rani, Namita Toppo, Navjot Kaur, Monika Preeti Dubey, Renuka Yadav
Forwards: Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Lilima Minz.