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Commonwealth Games: Indian women's hockey squad announced

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Hockey on Wednesday named a 18-member national women's squad for the forthcoming to be held in Gold Coast, from April 4.

The Indian team is grouped in Pool A along with Malaysia, Wales, England and They will begin their campaign on April 5 against

The 18-member squad will be captained by ace striker Rani while will shoulder the duties of vice-

makes a return to the team after being rested for the recently concluded tour of

Rajani Etimarpu is the while the defence is packed with experience and grit in the form of Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, and

Monika, Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz will form the midfield while Rani, Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, and Poonam Rani, who returned to the squad during the tour, will form India's attack.

The Indian team is currently ranked No.10 in the world and are expected to face stiff competition from higher ranked teams such as World No.2 England, World No.4 and World No.5

However, India's is confident that the team can cause huge upsets on the back of winning the five-match series in

"We have played with the same set of players for a long period so the players have formed a great understanding between themselves which was evident during our 2017 Asia Cup triumph. The team also performed well in to beat a higher-ranked side and we will be looking to cause a few upsets and aim for the podium as the morale is high going into the prestigious Commonwealth Games," he said.

The also welcomed the inclusion of the experienced Savita, who is currently in undergoing a goalkeeping coaching course.

"is an integral part of the team and brings a lot of experience in goal for us. She has played over 200 matches for her country and has performed in crucial matches of big tournaments. Therefore, it is good to have her back in the team as she helps the defensive and offensive players as well by imparting her expertise," the Junior Men's World said.

won the gold medal at the 2002 in England after defeating the hosts 3-2 in extra-time in the final.

They took silver at the 2006 after losing to hosts in the final.

However, the team has only managed to finish fifth in the 2010 and 2014 editions of the quadrennial tournament.

But Rani is confident that her team can repeat the feat of 2002 and 2006 in

"We go into the tournament in good form after winning the series in and while we have only finished fifth in the two previous occasions, this time we will look to finish on the podium as we have a great set of players with a mixture of experience and youth," the 23-year-old said.

"The team's hunger to win will certainly be a key factor in us performing well at the Games."

The squad:

Goalkeepers: (vice-captain), Rajani Etimarpu.

Defenders: Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur,

Midfielders: Monika, Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Neha Goyal, Lilima Minz.

Forwards: Rani (captain), Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navjot Kaur, Navneet Kaur,



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 13:38 IST