New Delhi, Nov 14: Ace forward Vandana Katariya was on Saturday retained as skipper of the Indian women’s hockey team for the Test series against Australia, to be played in Melbourne from November 23 to 30.

Defender Sunita Lakra will be Vandana’s deputy in the 18-member squad announced by Hockey India (HI) here.

Rajani Etimarpu and Savita will continue to remain as India’s custodians while the defence line will be held by Deep Grace Ekka, Salima Tete, Rashmita Minz, Navdeep Kaur and Sunita.

The midfield too remains unchanged from the victorious Asian women’s Champions trophy squad with in-form Rani, Deepika, Nikki Pradhan, Navjot Kaur, Monika and Karishma Yadav.

The forward line will be formed by experienced Poonam Rani, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Vandana, Preeti Dubey and Sonika.

Upbeat and confident after the recent success at the fourth women’s Asian Champions Trophy where they beat China in the final in Singapore, the Indian eves are looking forward to make amends for the disappointing outing Down Under earlier this year prior to the Olympics.

“After the Olympics, the team is playing with a fresh perspective and attitude towards the game.

“The recent win in Singapore goes to show that the team is eager to do well against best of the teams in the world and would continue doing well against Australia in their home turf,” Vandana said in a statement.

“This will give us a lot of confidence going forward in the new Olympic cycle,” she added.

24 year old Vandana Kataria tasted success in 2013 emerging as the country’s top goal-scorer, helping India bag a coveted bronze medal in the Junior Women’ World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany – her five goals made her the third highest goal-scorer of the tournament.

She has scored more than 35 goals in 130 appearances for the national team and cites Argentine Luciana Aymar as her favorite player.

World class international hockey returns to Melbourne with the new International Festival of Hockey featuring teams from India, Malaysia and New Zealand including Australia.

Indian Eves Squad:

Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Salima Tete, Sunita Lakra (Vice Captain), Rashmita Minz, Navdeep Kaur

Midfielders: Nikki Pradhan, Navjot Kaur, Karishma Yadav, Rani, Deepika, Monika Forward: Poonam Rani, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Vandana Katariya (Captain), Preeti Dubey, Sonika

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