Veteran goalkeeper Savita Punia will continue to lead the side and Vandana Katariya will be her deputy as Hockey India on Saturday named an 18-member Indian women’s team for the Olympic Qualifiers scheduled to be held in Ranchi from January 13 to 19. India will take the field in Ranchi looking to finish as one of the top three teams in the competition and secure qualification for the Paris Olympics 2024.

“The FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Ranchi is an important tournament on our Paris Olympics journey. It is imperative that we live up to the expectations and all the players in the squad are working to secure qualification,” Indian Women’s chief coach Janneke Schopman said in a release.

“After careful consideration, we have chosen a well-balanced team with immense skill and experience in all departments. Also, Savita and Vandana have faced high-pressure situations numerous times in their career so far. They are well equipped to guide the rest of the team as the Captain and Vice-Captain,” she added.

Savita has recently won her third consecutive FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Award, while veteran forward Vandana became the first-ever women player from India to complete 300 caps.

India have been placed in Pool B along with New Zealand, Italy, and the United States, while Germany, Japan, Chile, and the Czech Republic will battle it out in Pool A.

India will open their campaign against the United States on January 13, followed by a match against New Zealand on January 14. They will go up against Italy in the last Pool B match on January 16.

Squad: Goalkeepers: 1. Savita Punia (Captain), Bichu Devi Kharibam Defenders: Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Monika Midfielders: Nisha, Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Salima Tete, Sonika, Jyoti, Beauty Dungdung Forwards: Lalremsiami, Sangita Kumari, Deepika, Vandana Katariya.

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