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Women’s FIH Pro League 2021-22: India face defending champions Netherlands

A fit-again Rani Rampal is likely to return to the squad but goalkeeper Savita will continue to captain the Indian team.’

The Indian women’s hockey team will continue its home leg of the FIH Pro League 2021-22 season with two matches against defending champions Netherlands at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on Friday and Saturday.

Both teams will come into the contest having played six matches in the FIH Pro League so far. While India are fourth in the points table with three wins, the Netherlands are on top of the standings with five wins.

India, eighth in the hockey rankings, beat China 7-1 and 2-1 in Muscat followed by a 2-1 win and a 4-3 loss against Spain in February. In the most recent fixtures at home, India had a win and a loss versus Germany after both matches were decided on shootouts.

Meanwhile, Rani Rampal is expected to return to the Indian women’s hockey team for the first time since Tokyo Olympics, but goalkeeper Savita Punia will continue to lead the side. Defender Deep Grace Ekka will be Savita’s deputy.

Rani was nursing a major hamstring injury and is now back to training and match fitness.

“Rani has also worked hard to be back in contention and if this training week goes well, I hope we can play her in one of the games,” India’s coach Janneke Schopman said.

Defender Mahima Choudhary and forward Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan are among the new faces in the squad for matches against the Netherlands.

“With our youngsters playing the Junior World Cup, we have the opportunity to use the depth of our core group and I am excited to potentially see some new faces on the field making their debut in these games,” Janneke Schopman added.

The Indian women’s hockey team was scheduled to play the Olympic champions in February but the matches had to be postponed due to COVID-19.

India vs the Netherlands: Women’s FIH Pro League 2021-22 schedule and live match times

All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST)

April 8, Friday: India vs the Netherlands – 7:30 PM IST

April 9, Saturday: India vs the Netherlands – 3:30 PM IST

Indian team for Women’s FIH Pro League matches vs the Netherlands

Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (captain), Rajani Etimarpu

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (vice-captain), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Rashmita Minz, Suman Devi Thoudam

Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Namita Toppa, Sonika, Neha, Mahima Choudhary

Forwards: Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan, Navneet Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Rani Rampal, Mariana Kujur

Standbys: Upasana Singh, Preeti Dubey, Vandana Katariya

Photo : olympics.com

Website : olympics.com