New Delhi: Midfielder Ritu Rani will lead a 21-member Indian women`s hockey squad in the upcoming tour of Malaysia, which is scheduled to take place from June 7 to June 17 as part of preparations for the Commonwealth and Asian Games.
India will be playing a six-match test series in Kuala Lumpur, the last one in the build-up to the CWG in Glasgow, which will be organised from July 23 to August 3.
The squad was selected by Hockey India selectors B P Govinda, Harbinder Singh, Surinder Kaur along with chief coach Neil Hawgood and scientific advisor Matthew Tredrea.
Selection trials for the same were conducted at NSNIS Patiala on May 23 and 24. The preparatory camp of the senior women`s team for Commonwealth Games and Asian Games 2014 is already in progress at NSNIS Patiala.
Defender Deepika will be the vice-captain for the Malaysian tour.
Hawgood said, "The players selected to be a part of the squad have shown immense talent and skills on the field and have earned their position to make it in the list. We are looking forward for the Malaysian tour as this will help us and the players to understand their strengths and weaknesses even better and work on them to the level of perfection.
"We will be keeping a close watch on the players` performances on this tour and will analyse the same to refine the edges to ensure good results in the Commonwealth Games 2014."
Speaking ahead of series, Rani said, "I am very pleased to see the selected squad and I am glad to be a part of it. As I have been playing with all of these players for quite some time now and aware of their capabilities, it gives me huge motivation when I look at the squad and I believe we all will give our best to live up to the expectations of our coaches and selectors.
"This tour is going to help us to get into the rhythm and prepare for the upcoming Commonwealth Games."
Squad: Goalkeepers: Yogita Bali, Savita
Defenders: Deepika (Vice-Captain), Kirandeep Kaur, Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Jaspreet Kaur, Gurjit Kaur, Asunta Lakra, Deep Grace Ekka
Midfielders: Ritu Rani (Captain), Sushila Chanu, Lilima Minz, Vandana Katariya, Amandeep Kaur, Navjot Kaur
Forwards: Rani, Poonam Rani, Ritusha Arya, Anupa Barla, Anuradha Devi
Schedule for the Malaysian Tour
First match: June 9
Second match: June 10
Third match: June 12
Fourth match: June 14
Fifth match: June 15
Sixth match: June 17.