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Meet the players of Indian hockey team for FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022

Here we look at the 20 members who will be shouldering the responsibility of the Indian team in the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022.

Indian womens hockey team for FIH Hockey World Cup
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Indian women's hockey team for FIH Hockey World Cup (Source: Hockey India)

By

Md Imtiaz

Updated: 2022-07-03T21:00:38+05:30

The 20-member Indian women's hockey team, led by captain Savita Punia, will soon be flying off to the Netherlands for their campaign at the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022. The team that created history in the Tokyo Olympics by defeating heavyweights Australia and reaching the semifinals, will be aiming to overcome all odds this time as well and better their previous edition's performance where they were knocked out in the quarterfinals.

Under the aegis of coach Janneke Schopman, the girls will be aiming for stars riding with confidence on an impressive performance in the FIH Pro Hockey League, where they finished in the third position.

Though the talismanic Rani Rampal will not be participating and captaining the side this time owing to an injury, the team looks like a strong unit that bound by teamwork. Here we look at the 20 members who will be shouldering the responsibility of the Indian team in the World Cup.

Savita (Captain)


Age: 32

Position: Goalkeeper

Caps: 228

Savita made her international debut at the age of 18 when she was selected for the Spar Cup Four Nations Tournament in Durban, South Africa. She played a key role in helping India win the Bronze medal at the 8th edition of the Women's Asia Cup in 2013 and was also a part of the team that won the Gold medal in the Women's Asian Champions Trophy in 2016. Savita was part of the team's first-appearance in 36 years at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Her performance at the FIH Women's World League Round 2 in 2017, saw her win the 'Goalkeeper of the Tournament', and then she played a key role at the 9th Women's Asia Cup 2017, helping India lift the trophy after 13 years. Savita also played a crucial role in India's Silver medal finish at the 2018 Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang as well as Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2018. Savita was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2018. She played a major role in India's Tokyo Olympics 2020 campaign as Vice-Captain where she helped her team in achieving a record-breaking fourth-place finish. She was handed the mantle of leading the team in 2022, in the absence of Rani who was out of action due to a prolonged injury.

Savita stepping up in her role, led India as Captain to a third-place finish at the Women's Asia Cup 2022 and then led the team again at the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22 where she made significant contribution to help India finish at third position.

"The past few months have prepared our team for tough challenges and it has really helped us in our preparations for the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022. Our aim is to perform in the tournament as a team and give our best in the competition. Our Pro League campaign has definitely given us a boost to do well in the World Cup. I am glad to have the opportunity to represent the country once again on the biggest stage."

Bichu Devi


Age: 21

Position: Goalkeeper

Caps: 4

Goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam's career has been on a steep ascent since she made her breakthrough with eye-catching displays in the 2018 Youth Olympics in Argentina, a tournament where India clinched an historic Silver medal. In the following year, she was named 'Goalkeeper of the Tournament' in the 4 Nations Junior Women Invitational in Dublin and was fast-tracked to the senior set-up. Bichu Devi was among the more experienced members of the India Women's Junior Team squad that finished in the fourth place at the FIH Women's Junior World Cup 2021 in South Africa. Bichu Devi also made her India debut for the Senior Women's National team in the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22.

"I am thankful to the opportunities I have received over the past few months which has given me the experience to tackle difficult situations during a match. I am hopeful everything I have learned will help me deal with the pressure at the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022."

Deep Grace Ekka (Vice Captain)


Age: 28

Position: Defender

Caps: 228

Deep Grace Ekka hails from Odisha and has amassed over 220 caps for India. The 28-year-old has built her career on some remarkable feats right from her junior India days. She was a part of the Junior team which won the Bronze medal at the 2013 Women's Junior Hockey World Cup in Germany. A good show in the junior ranks saw her earn a place in the senior team which won the Bronze medal at the 8th Women's Asia Cup in 2013. Ekka was part of the Indian team that took part in Rio Olympic Games -- their first appearance since 1980. She was an integral part of the team that won Gold at the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy, and Gold in the Asia Cup in 2017. She was also a part of the side that won the Silver medal at the Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2018. She was also part of India's historic Silver medal feat at the 2018 Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang. Ekka was the backbone of the defence at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, where India attained their best-ever fourth-place finish. She led India as the Vice-Captain to a third-place finish at the Women's Asia Cup 2022 and was also the Vice-Captain of the Indian Women's Hockey Team that finished in 3rd position in FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22.

"We have really grown since the Tokyo Olympics and everyone in the team is really confident of a good showing at the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022. We are motivated to do our best and we hope to make the nation proud."

Gurjit Kaur


Age: 26

Position: Defender

Caps: 112

Gurjit Kaur is one of the most vital cogs of the Indian Women's Hockey Team. Her goals have contributed to India's big victories in recent years, most notably so at Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. She scored a match-winning goal from the Penalty Corner in India's historic 1-0 win over Australia, which earned the Indian Women's Hockey team a place in their first-ever Semi-Final at the prestigious event. Apart from scoring a goal in the Semi-final against Argentina, Gurjit also scored two goals in the Bronze medal match against Great Britain. Her fine performance also saw her being chosen as the FIH Women's Player of the Year award 2020-2021. Since her debut in 2014 against Malaysia, the 26-year-old player from Punjab has played key role in India's various memorable moments such as - 9th Women's Asia Cup in 2017, Japan where she scored a total of eight goals, finishing as the tournament's third-highest goal-scorer. She was instrumental in India's maiden Quarter Final at the FIH Women's World Cup London in 2018, as well as India's historic Silver medal in Asian Games 2018. She was also part of Indian team's Silver medal win at the Women's Asian Champions Trophy in 2018. In 2019, she was the leading goal scorer at the FIH Women's Series Final held at Hiroshima, Japan 2019 where the team won the Gold and she also took part in the 2019 Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar where India beat USA 6-5 in goal aggregate. In January 2022, she contributed to the team's third-place finish at the Women's Asia Cup 2022 in Muscat, which helped India earn a place at the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup Spain and Netherlands 2022.

"Just like the Olympics, World Cup is also one of the biggest competitions for any sportsperson and it's a matter of pride and honour for me to represent India at such a prestigious stage. We missed out on a medal by a whisker at the Olympics, so the World Cup provides us with a great opportunity to make up for that. We will give our best to finish on the podium, which will also help us set the tempo for the 2024 Paris Olympics."

Nikki Pradhan


Age: 28

Position: Defender

Caps: 127

Nikki Pradhan made her India debut during the 2016 South Africa Tour and since then she has been a regular feature in the team. The Jharkhand-born player became the first hockey player from her state to play at the prestigious Olympic Games when the Indian Women's Hockey Team participated in Rio 2016 – a feat achieved after 36 years. Nikki has been part of some important victories including the Women's Asia Cup in 2017 glory, Silver medal-winning campaigns at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang as well as the 2018 Women's Asian Champions Trophy. The 28-year-old also donned the Indian colours during South Korea Tour in March 2018, and played in Commonwealth Games 2018 and the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018. She then featured in the title-winning FIH Women's Series Finals Hiroshima in 2019 and played a vital role in India's campaign against the USA in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers where the Indian team sealed their Olympic Games berth for the second consecutive. She was also part of the team's historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 as well as 3rd place finish at the recently concluded FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22.

"It's a matter of pride and honour for me to represent India at an important stage like World Cup and I want to play to my role and execute my duty to the Indian team as we eye a victorious outing in the tournament. We are determined to give our best."

Udita


Age: 24

Position: Defender

Caps: 58

Born in Haryana, Udita made her Senior Team debut during Indian team's tour of New Zealand in 2017. She has been a regular feature in Senior Women Core Probable Group since 2017. Udita participated at the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018 and was part of the Silver medal-winning team at the 2018 Asian Games Palembang-Jakarta and the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy. She was also part of the India's historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and then featured in the Bronze medal-winning campaign at the Women's Asia Cup 2022. The 24-year-old player recently achieved her 50th international cap while representing India at the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22.

"I am thrilled to get an opportunity to represent India at the World Cup for the second time. Back 2018, I was new to the team, but this time the role will be slightly different. It will be about taking on more responsibilities and making vital contributions to the team's cause. We have been doing really well for the past few years, and we need to believe in ourselves. We are up for any kind of challenge thrown at us."

Nisha

Age: 26

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 37

Nisha plays as a midfielder for Team India. She made her international debut against Uruguay in the 2019 FIH Women's Series Finals in Hiroshima. A relatively new addition to the backline, Nisha was a part of the India team that toured Argentina earlier this year, and she points to the challenging tour as having been a great learning experience for her. She was a part of the India Women's Hockey Team which finished in the 4th position at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Nisha also was part of India's midfield at the Women's Asia Cup 2022 where she helped the team win the Bronze medal and also played a crucial role for India at the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22.

"We have been working really hard for the past six months to prepare ourselves for the challenge at the FIH Women's World Cup 2022. We have faced strong teams in this period which has given us a sense of the competition that is in store for us."

Sushila Chanu


Age: 30

Position: Half-Back

Caps: 208

Sushila Chanu, who hails from the state of Manipur, was the Captain of the Indian Junior Women's team which won the Bronze medal at the Women's Hockey Junior World Cup in Germany in 2013. She has also represented India at the 2014 Asian Games where India won the Bronze medal. Sushila Captained the Indian Women's Hockey Team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games – which was India's first appearance in women's hockey since the 1980 Olympics. Sushila has been part of India's important Gold medal win at the 2017 Asia Cup. After struggling with injury and subsequent form, due to which she missed out on the Asian Games Palembang-Jakarta in 2018 and the World Cup the same year, Sushila returned with a bang and has become a strong force in the team's growth over the past four years. She was part of India's victory at the FIH Series Finals as well as the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar, India. She also played a key role at the Tokyo Olympics, and then featured in India's line-up at the Women's Asia Cup in 2021. Sushila achieved her 200th international cap while representing India at the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22 where India finished third.

"Every opportunity you get to don the Indian jersey is a matter of pride and gratitude for everyone. Incidentally, this is my first World Cup because I missed out in 2018. Hence, I am very excited and we are hopeful to showcase a good showing at the Women's World Cup. We have worked hard in the training and have faced some tough competition, so we feel we are ready."

Monika

Age: 28

Position: Midfield

Caps: 178

Monika, who hails from Haryana, has been one of the key figures in the current Indian Women's Team set-up. She was part of the Indian team that participated in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games – the Indian eves' first Olympic appearance since 1980. Monika was also part of the India squad that won Gold at the Asian Champions Trophy in 2016, and at the 9th Women's Asia Cup 2017, where she scored a goal in the Final against China to help the team lift the title. She has previously represented India at the 2014 Asian Games, and the midfield maestro was part of the Silver medal-winning team in the 2018 Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang as well as the Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2018 Silver medal-winning team and played her first World Cup in London. She played a key role in India's campaign in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar where the team clinched the berth for Tokyo after beating USA 6-5 in goal aggregate. The 28-year-old, who has made more than 150 international appearances, was one of the main architects of the Indian Women's Hockey Team's historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. She scored three goals in India's recent Bronze medal-winning campaign at the 2022 Women's Asia Cup in Muscat.

"Our focus is to carry forward the momentum that we've gained from the Pro League matches. It's been a wonderful journey post-Tokyo Olympics, we have gained a lot of confidence, we have become fearless, and it has also reflected in our performances in the past few months. World Cup is another great opportunity for us to show where the Indian Women's Hockey Team stands in the world at present. We are looking forward to giving our best and will certainly make our country proud again."

Neha

Age: 25

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 103

Neha made her debut in the senior team in 2014 at the FIH Champions Challenge in Glasgow. However, by then, the vivacious midfielder had already become a well-known face among the sports enthusiasts, courtesy of her brilliant performance for the junior team. At the age of 14, she was called up to India's squad for the Junior Asia Cup in 2011. She was selected for the U-21 Four-Nations Lal Bahadur Shastri Women's Hockey Tournament the same year, where she received the Player of the Tournament award for her outstanding performance.

Neha has been a regular member of the Indian Women's Hockey Team in recent years and was also a member of the squad that earned a Silver medal at the 5th Women's Asian Champions Trophy. She also played a role in India's historic Silver medal victory in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang. She was a key player of the squad at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where they finished fourth, and was a driving force behind India's recent Bronze medal-winning effort at the 2022 Women's Asia Cup in Muscat. Neha was also instrumental in India's 3rd place finish in the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22.

"I am thrilled to be a member of India's World Cup team. We've been playing some really good hockey against some of the finest teams in the world, and we've also done well in the last few international competitions, so I'm confident we'll do well in the World Cup."

Jyoti

Age: 22

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 30

Jyoti, who was born in Sonipat, Haryana, made her Senior Team debut for the Indian Women's Hockey Team during the Malaysia Tour in April 2019, where the team won four games while one contest ended in a draw. The midfielder, who was also a member of the Indian team that won the FIH Women's Series Finals in Hiroshima in 2019, is widely regarded as the next big thing in Indian Hockey. She was also a member of the Indian Women's Hockey Team, which claimed Bronze at the Women's Asia Cup in 2022. She was also part of the team that ended 3rd in the FIH Hockey Women's Pro League 2021/22.

"As athletes, we all want to represent India on the biggest stage possible, and the upcoming Women's Hockey World Cup is one such tournament for me. I'm very excited about it, and I can't express how much it means to me to be able to represent India at such a high level. I've put in a lot of time and effort to get to this point, and I'm excited to put my skills to use and contribute to the team's triumphs in the colossal event."

Navjot Kaur

Age: 27

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 196

After a strong showing in the Junior Asia Cup and the International U-21 tournament in the Netherlands, the Kurukshetra-born midfielder made her senior debut in a series against New Zealand in Napier in 2012. And, after that, she never looked back as she went on to represent India in some of the world's most prestigious competitions, including the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games, when India earned Bronze and Silver medals, respectively. She was also a member of the Indian team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (5th place) and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (4th position).

She was a member of the Indian team that qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics (12th place) after a 36-year hiatus, and was also part of the team at the 2020 Tokyo Games, when they achieved their greatest finish – 4th place – in the Summer Games. The seasoned ace also played a major role in India's historic Bronze medal campaign at the Women's Asia Cup in 2022 and was a key member of the Indian Women's Hockey squad, which finished FIH Hockey Women's Pro League 2021/22 at the 3rd position.

"I was a member of the team at the 2018 World Cup, when we made it to the quarterfinals, so we are aiming to go even further this time. We have learned a lot in the last four years, and this time we will do everything we can to ensure that India finishes on the podium."

Sonika

Age: 25

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 47

Sonika started her hockey career at a young age when she was 9 years old at the school level. Hailing from Hisar district of Haryana, Sonika was part of the Senior Nationals team that won the Gold medal in 2013. In 2014 New Zealand Test series, she went on to make her debut for India Junior Women's National Team, before leading the team as Captain in Spain in Five-Nations tournament. She was selected at the Senior Women's National Camp in 2016 and made her Senior debut at Hawke's Bay Cup in New Zealand. She was also part of the Indian Women's Senior Team that won the Gold medal at the Women's Asia Cup in 2017. After a break in 2020 due to personal reasons, Sonika made a return to the Indian team at the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22 and played a significant role for the team.

"We have been training really hard in the camp for almost a year. We want to finish at the podium. I was very elated and inspired to see the team's performance at the Tokyo Olympics where the girls played tremendous hockey. We have faced so many struggles in life, so we hope we can win a medal at FIH Women's Hockey World Cup 2022."

Salima Tete


Age: 20

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 53

The 20-year-old, Salima Tete, who is known for her fierce defending hails from Jharkhand. She was the Captain of the Indian junior squad that won Silver at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. Salima was a key player in India's FIH Olympic Qualifiers victory over the United States, and she has established her spot in the team with notable performances in recent years, including the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. Salima is also only the second player from Jharkhand to compete in the Olympics, after Nikki Pradhan. She was also part of India's successful campaign at the 2022 Women's Asia Cup, where they finished third. The youngster also played a significant role in India's 3rd place finish in the FIH Hockey Women's Pro League in 2021/22.

"I am super excited about representing India at the Women's Hockey World Cup and I am also hoping to pick up some tips from the senior members of the team during this tour. I have spent a lot of time working on my game over the last few years, and I'm hoping to put in a strong showing at the prestigious event and help the team record several memorable games."

Vandana Katariya


Age: 30

Position: Forward

Caps: 264

Vandana forms the attacking line of the Indian Women's Hockey Team. Vandana hogged the media headlines in 2013 after she finished as the top scorer for India at the Junior Women's World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany and helped India in winning the Bronze medal. She has been a key member of the team since then, competing in all major competitions, including the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2020 Tokyo Games, where India finished fourth and Vandana also became the first Indian women's hockey player to score a hat-trick in the Olympic Games.

She was also a member of the Indian teams that won the Asian Champions Trophy in 2016, the 2017 Hockey World League Round 2 in Canada, and the 2017 Women's Asia Cup. She was also a significant part of the Indian side that won Silver at the 2018 Women's Asian Champions Trophy and advanced to the Quarter Finals of the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London. The 30-year-old was also a key member of India's Women's Asia Cup campaign in 2022, where they won Bronze and was instrumental in helping India finish 3rd in the FIH Hockey Women's Pro League.

"I am highly motivated to put a good performance in the 2022 Women's Hockey World cup. I want to win the World Cup for India and for our fans. I know it won't be easy, but we have been preparing for this moment for the past four years, and now that it's finally here, we're ready."

Lalremsiami


Age: 22

Position: Midfielder

Caps: 86

Lalremsiami debuted for the senior team in a test series against Belarus in 2017 and has been a regular member of the Indian Women's Hockey Team since then. Before breaking into the senior team, Lalremsiami, also known as 'Siami,' made rapid progress in the U-21 India team. In 2019, she received the Asunta Lakra Award for Upcoming Player of the Year (Women - Under 21) from Hockey India. She was also a member of the Indian Junior Hockey Team, which won Silver at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lalremsiami also featured in the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia (4th place) and the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup 2018 in London, England (8th Position). She was a key figure in the Indian team's Silver medal triumph at the 2018 Asian Games and their best-ever fourth-place finish in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She was a key player in India's recent Bronze medal performance at the 2022 Women's Asia Cup in Muscat. In the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22, Lalremsiami was also vital in India's third-place finish.

"We have done incredibly well in the last few years, and now the onus is on us to perform well and make our fans proud as we prepare for the 2022 Women's Hockey World Cup. For me, personally, it is about accepting responsibility and making significant contributions. We are all very motivated to do well here and perhaps bring home a medal."

Navneet Kaur


Age: 26

Position: Forward

Caps: 107

Navneet Kaur, who hails from Haryana, has been one of the most reliable forwards in the Indian team in recent years. She made her senior debut in 2014, a year after she helped India earn bronze at the Ergo Hockey Junior World Cup 2013, held in Mönchengladbach, Germany. She was India's standout player as they won the 9th Women's Asia Cup in November 2017, and she also starred in their Silver medal-winning campaign at the 2018 Women's Asian Champions Trophy. She also represented India at the Commonwealth Games 2018 and the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018.

She helped India win a historic Silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang. She was a key member of India's squad that came fourth at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and helped India win the FIH Series Finals in 2019. She was a key member of India's squad during the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2021/22, finishing on the third position.

"The wait is finally over for us. We have been waiting for the 2022 Women's Hockey World Cup for four years now and it's finally here. So, yes, we are all really excited. We reached Quarter Finals during the previous World Cup. So, this time, our aim is to go all the way."

Sharmila Devi


Age: 20

Position: Forward

Caps: 33

Sharmila Devi was part of the Indian Women's Hockey Team's historic fourth place finish at the Tokyo Olympics and bagged the FIH Women's Rising Star of the Year Award 2020-2021. The 20-year-old forward made her debut at the Ready Steady Tokyo Hockey 2020 Olympics Test Event in 2019, where she scored a goal in India's first match against USA. The Hisar-born player honed her skills under former Indian Women's Hockey Team Captain and Dronacharya Awardee Pritam Siwach. She was also part of the Indian Junior Women's Hockey Team's fourth place finish at the FIH Women's Junior World Cup in April 2022.

"The Tokyo Olympics was a thrilling experience, and there were lots of learnings involved. I was part of the Junior World Cup as well earlier this year and getting a chance to play yet another marquee tournament in the same year is a special feeling. I am looking forward to giving my best at the World Cup."

Replacement Players

Akshata Abaso Dhekale

Age: 20

Position: Defender

Caps: 4

Akshata, who hails from the western state of Maharashtra, started playing hockey at the age of 11 at the Shree Shivachhatrapati Sports Academy. Akshata's most impressive performance came in the 2019 Junior National Championships in Kollam when she led the Maharashtra team as Captain to their first ever appearance in the Quarter Final on the national stage. Being selected for the National Camp for the first time is one of her fondest memories in hockey. Akshata made her debut for the Senior Women's National team on her home ground during the FIH Pro League 2021/22, and became a regular feature in the team. Akshata was also part of the Indian team at the FIH Junior Women's World Cup 2022, that finished in the fourth position.

"This will be the first time I will have the chance to represent India at the Women's Hockey World Cup and I am really grateful for the opportunity. I believe it will be a good learning experience for me to grow as a player.

Sangita Kumari

Age: 20

Position: Forward

Caps: 6

Sangita Kumari, a Jharkhand native, began playing hockey at the age of seven. She also played hockey in school and was chosen for the Sports Training Centre in Simdega based on her abilities. Since 2016, she has been a mainstay in the Junior National Camp, having participated in many overseas tours for the Indian Women's Junior Hockey team, including trips to Spain, Belgium, Australia, and Chile, as well as the Youth Olympic Qualifiers in Bangkok in 2018. She also featured in India's squad in the FIH Hockey Women's Junior World Cup 2021, which was held in Potchefstroom, South Africa, where they finished fourth. During the FIH Hockey Women's Pro League 2021/22, she made her senior debut against Spain. She was handed her senior debut against Spain during the FIH Hockey Women's Pro League 2021/22.

"I am really excited for the Women's Hockey World Cup. This is my first major tournament and so, of course, I am quite pumped up to be here. Let's hope, we do well and reach the final. Also, I would really like to do well on a personal level and contribute to India's successes."

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