The Indian women’s hockey team has become one among the nine national hockey teams selected for the Hockey Pro League, which begins from January 2019 at the home base and across the globe. This hockey league is spread out to the men’s game as well and the Indian men’s hockey team is also selected to be a part of the nine hockey teams from across the world.

The league will have a total 144 one-off matches between all the nine men’s and women’s teams playing each other every year at home base and away.

“The fixtures will take place in national stadiums, week in, week out, from January to June,” the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced in a release on Sunday (June 12), as quoted by Hindustan Times.

Apart from India, the other women’s teams from around the world are Argentina, Australia, China, England/Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand and USA.

The release further stated that the nine teams were picked after “an extremely competitive candidate evaluation process which saw 13 men’s and 12 women’s team applications submitted by national associations”.

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The women’s teams that missed the cut for the league are Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Spain.

In 2016, the FIH had announced that a new home-and-away league will replace the final rounds (3rd and 4th) of the Hockey World League and the annual Champions Trophy — the celebrated tournament includes the top six finishers of the preceding year’s Olympics or World Cup.

Currently, the Indian women’s hockey team is at the SAI centre in Shillaroo for a 24-day camp that started on June 1 to train for the Women’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Finals to be held in Johannesburg next month from July 8 to 23.

For this tournament, the team comprises Hockey Madhya Pradesh’s Swati, who will be the third goalkeeper in the camp, besides regulars Savita and Rajani Etimarpu. Navdeep Kaur, Hlunte Lalhlunmawii again from Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Ritu of Hockey Haryana and Jyoti Dahiya of Association of Indian Universities will be defenders alongside Deep Grace Ekka, P Sushila Chanu, Sunita Lakra, Gurjit Kaur, Rashmita Minz and Nikki Pradhan. The new additions to the existing midfielders are Karishma Yadav of Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Nilanjali Rai of Hockey Madhya Pradesh, K Ngaihpari of Hockey Mizoram and Neha of Railway Sports Promotion Board, reported TOI.

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