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Four from Odisha in Indian Women’s Hockey Team for Malaysia tour

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New Delhi: Four players from Odisha were selected to the 18-member Indian Women’s Hockey squad for the upcoming five-match series scheduled from April 4 in Kuala Lumpur.

Lilima Minz, Rashmita Minz, Deep Grace Ekka and Sunita Lakra will be playing for Team India headed by Savita.

Savita will be joined by Rajani Etimarpu as goalkeepers for India. The defence line-up includes youngster Salima Tete, Reena Khokar, Deep Grace Ekka, Rashmita Minz, and Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam along with Sunita Lakra who is making a comeback into the squad after missing the Spain Tour, the Hockey India said in a release on Wednesday.

In the midfield, experienced Monika returns from injury as she joins Karishma Yadav, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz. The forwardline includes Jyoti, Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur and Navneet Kaur.

Speaking about the tour ahead of 2020 Olympic Qualifying events, Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “One of the things we wanted to improve after the Spain Tour was our One Vs One defending and create more opportunities after we intercept the ball. These are the two key areas we want to focus on in Malaysia and we keep working on individual consistency of players.”

In the absence of Skipper Rani, experienced Namita Toppo and dragflicker Gurjit Kaur, Marijne said, it is an opportunity that the youngsters must make use of for their future prospects.

“Young players get to show their best performance on international level and it’s important for us in case of creating depth in the selection,” she said.

Here’s the Indian Women’s Hockey squad: 

Goalkeeper:

1. Rajani Etimarpu

2. Savita

Defenders:

3. Salima Tete

4. Sunita Lakra

5. Deep Grace Ekka

6. Reena Khokhar

7. Rashmita Minz

8. Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam

Midfielders:

9. Monika

10. Karishma Yadav

11. Nikki Pradhan

12. Neha Goyal

13. Lilima Minz

Forwards:

14. Jyoti

15. Vandana Katariya

16. Lalremsiami

17. Navjot Kaur

18. Navneet Kaur