Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 4:
Five from Odisha make it to Indian women’s hockey team for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand, starting from May 14 at Midlands.
The Odisha girls— Deep Grace Ekka, Lilima Minz, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Anupa Barla — have found place in the 20-member national squad headed by striker Rani Rampal.
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 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.
Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne, the newly-appointed chief coach for the women’s team, is confident that the New Zealand tour will help the team gain the required exposure ahead of important tournament lined up in June.
Goalkeepers — Rajani Etimarpu, Savita;
Defenders — Deep Grace Ekka, Udita, Sunita Lakra, Gurjit Kaur, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam (VC), Namita Toppo
Midfielders — Ritu Rani, Lilima Minz, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Renuka Yadav, Nikki Pradhan, Reena Khokar
Forwards — Rani (Captain), Vandana Katariya, Preeti Dubey, Sonika, Anupa Barla