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Northeast hockey players Bichu Devi Kharibam and Lalremsiami part of 20-member Indian women’s team for Australia tour

First Published: 8th May, 2023 16:01 IST

Bichu Devi Kharibam is the second goalkeeper named in the squad with defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Ishika Chaudhary

Hockey India on Monday named a 20-member national women’s team for a three-match series in Australia, to be held in Adelaide from May 18.

They will also play two games against Australia ‘A’. The tour will be part of the team’s preparations ahead of the all-important Hangzhou Asian Games, reported Republic TV.

The Indian team will be led by ace goalkeeper Savita Punia who was recently bestowed with the Balbir Singh Sr Hockey India Player of the Year (2022) Award. She will be assisted by Deep Grace Ekka as the team’s vice captain.

Bichu Devi Kharibam is the second goalkeeper named in the squad with defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Ishika Chaudhary, Udita and Gurjit Kaur.

The midfielders include Nisha, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Salima Tete, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Sonika, Jyoti, and Baljeet Kaur.

India’s forward line will be spearheaded by the seasoned striker Vandana Katariya who has more than 250 international caps. She will be joined by Lalremsiami, Sangita Kumari and Sharmila Devi.

Speaking about the team selection, chief coach Janneke Scopman said, “We are excited to have international exposure again after two intense training blocks. Australia are a formidable opponent that loves to play attacking hockey with speed.

“It will be a great test for us, and we will endeavour to match their speed on offence while maintaining our defensive ground.” India will face Australia on May 18, 20 and 21, and Australia ‘A’ on the May 25 and 27. The Mate Stadium in Adelaide will host all five games. 

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