Rani Rampal, the mainstay of the Indian women's hockey team, has been left out of India's 18-member FIH World Cup squad as she is yet to recover from her hamstring injury.
Despite making a comeback in the ongoing Pro League in the Netherlands, the ace striker hasn't regained full fitness.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Hockey India named goalkeeper Savita Punia as the leader, with Deep Grace Ekka as the vice-captain.
Bichu Devi Kharibam has been announced as the standby goalkeeper, with Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan and Udita playing as defenders. Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Sonika and Salima Tete will look to secure the midfield.
While veteran campaigners Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur and Sharmila Devi are the forwards named in the squad.
Youngsters Akshata Abaso Dhekale and Sangita Kumari are there as replacements.
Head coach Janneke Schopman reckoned the squad has the right blend of experience and youth and it's the best one they could choose.
"We have chosen the best squad for the World Cup. It is a mix of experience and young talent who have shown great promise when they were given a chance against top teams in the FIH Pro League"Janneke Schopman, Chief coach, Indian women's national field hockey team
She stated that the selection process kept the entire squad from the Tokyo Olympics campaign except for Rani Rampal, who's out because of injury. The team's ecstatic to play in the upcoming World Cup and would look to address the shortcomings from their Pro League performances.
"Except Rani, who is still not fully recovered from injury rehabilitation, the team has all the players who were part of the Olympic campaign with inclusions like Jyoti and Sonika, who have done well in their roles when given a chance. We will also have Sangita and Akshata who will travel with the team as replacement players. The team is absolutely excited and eager to begin their World Cup campaign and we will utilise the next 10 days to fine tune our game basis analysis from Pro League performances."Janneke Schopman, Chief coach, Indian women's national field hockey team
Rampal led her team to a scintillating fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. After a hiatus of 10 months, she made her 250th international appearance against Belgium in the Pro League before being ruled out due to a hamstring strain.