Change of guard in women's hockey team: Salima replaces Savita as skipper

Barring three changes, the squad was the same that took part in the Bhubaneswar and Rourkela legs of the Pro League in February this year

May 02, 2024 03:39 pm | Updated 03:39 pm IST - New Delhi

India’s Salima Tete celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during FIH Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Ranchi 2024 hockey match between India and Italy at Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Astro Turf Hockey Stadium, in Ranchi, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.

India’s Salima Tete celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during FIH Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Ranchi 2024 hockey match between India and Italy at Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Astro Turf Hockey Stadium, in Ranchi, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Mid-fielder Salima Tete on May 2 replaced veteran goalkeeper Savita Punia as captain of the 24-strong Indian women's hockey squad for the Belgium and England legs of the FIH Pro League starting later this month.

Navneet Kaur has been named her deputy for the tour.

"I am happy that I have been appointed to lead the team. It is a big responsibility and I am looking forward to this new role. We have a strong squad and it's a mix of experienced and young players," Salima was quoted as saying in a Hockey India press release.

"In the upcoming Belgium and England legs of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023-2024, we look to put our strong foot forward. We have worked on areas where we needed to improve," she said.

Savita had captained India during the failed Olympic qualifying campaign and the pro league matches at home after that.

Barring three changes, the squad was the same that took part in the Bhubaneswar and Rourkela legs of the Pro League in February this year.

Defender Gurjit Kaur, mid-fielders Sonika and Nisha and striker Beauty Dungdung have been dropped and were replaced by Mahima Chaudhary, Manisha Chauhan, Pretti Dubey and Deepika Soreng.

The matches in Belgium will begin on May 22 and end on May 26, while the England leg will commence on June 1 and conclude on June 9.

India will play against Argentina, and Belgium twice during the first leg, starting May 22 against Argentina.

During the London leg, the team will take on Great Britain and Germany.

India are currently placed sixth in the FIH Pro League table with eight points from as many matches.

Salima was recently honoured with the prestigious Hockey India Balbir Singh Sr Award for Player of The Year in the women's category at the sixth Hockey India Annual Awards.

The goalkeeping responsibilities will rest with Savita and Bichu Devi Kharibam, while the defensive line-up includes Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Monika, Jyoti Chhatri and Mahima.

The midfield will be marshalled by Salima, Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, Navneet, Neha, Jyoti, Baljeet Kaur, Manisha and Lalremsiami.

The forward line boasts of Mumtaz Khan, Sangita Kumari, Deepika, Sharmila Devi, Preeti, Vandana Katariya, Sunelita Toppo and Deepika.

Navneet, who replaced Vandana as the team's vice-captain said, "It feels surreal to be named as the vice-captain. I am quite excited to get on with this team in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023-24, where we will play quality teams.

"We have a good team and we are confident that we will do well in the Europe leg of the Pro League. I am also looking to work on my game and improve."

Indian women's hockey squad

Goalkeepers: Savita, Bichu Devi Kharibam

Defenders: Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Monika, Jyoti Chhatri, Mahima Chaudhary.

Midfielders: Salima Tete (C), Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, Navneet Kaur (VC), Neha, Jyoti, Baljeet Kaur, Manisha Chauhan, Lalremsiami.

Forwards: Mumtaz Khan, Sangita Kumari, Deepika, Sharmila Devi, Preeti Dubey, Vandana Katariya, Sunelita Toppo, Deepika Soreng.

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