Women's Hockey Asian Champions Trophy

Women’s Asian Champions Trophy 2023: Top five Indian players to watch out for

Ajay GandharAjay Gandhar

October 27 2023
Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2023: Top five Indian players to watch out for
(Courtesy : Hockey India)

Hosts India will enter the tournament as the title favourites.

The highly anticipated Women’s Asian Champions Trophy 2023 is just around the corner, set to commence this Friday at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi.

A total of six formidable teams, including hosts India, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand, are all set to vie for supremacy. According to the tournament format, each of the six teams will engage in a round-robin stage, playing five matches before the top four teams advance to the semifinals.

While Japan, the defending champions, and China, the gold medallists of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou 2022, are bound to capture the spotlight, the Indian women’s hockey team is emerging as the favorites for the coveted title. Fresh from their commendable performance in Hangzhou, where they clinched a bronze medal, India, under the astute leadership of Savita Punia, is poised for a strong campaign.

India captain, Savita, underscored the significance of these matches, stating, “In tournaments of this caliber, underestimating any team is not an option. We eagerly anticipate these matches as they will put our mettle to the test against some of Asia’s most formidable teams.

“Naturally, our aim is to secure victory in every match and perform at our best here, as we prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympics Qualifiers, which will also be held in Ranchi. This tournament serves as a crucial preparatory trial before the ultimate challenge of securing an Olympic berth.”

India’s journey in the tournament will kick-off with a match against Thailand on Friday (October 27), followed by a clash with Malaysia on Saturday (October 28). Subsequently, they will square off against China in their third match on Monday (October 30) and then compete against Japan on Tuesday (October 31). The team’s final pool match will be against Korea on Thursday (November 2) leading into the knockout stage games.

India is aiming to clinch its second Women’s Asian Champions Trophy 2023, following their previous victory in 2016. They secured runner-up positions in the 2013 and 2018 editions and a third-place finish in 2010.

Notably, this marks the first time that India is hosting the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy, making it a momentous occasion for the nation and an opportunity to showcase the vibrant women’s hockey scene in the country.

As we look forward to the competition, here are the top five Indian players to watch out for in the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy

Salima Tete

In the world of women’s hockey, Salima Tete, a resolute defender hailing from the spirited hockey hub of Jharkhand, stands as a true stalwart. Renowned for her impregnable defensive prowess, Salima’s journey in international hockey has been a splendid one.

Beginning as the captain of the Indian junior squad that clinched a silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Salima showcased her leadership mettle early on. Her ascent continued with a pivotal role in India’s triumphant FIH Olympic Qualifiers, cementing her status as a linchpin in the national team.

Salima’s recent accomplishments remain in the spotlight. Her pivotal role in India’s successful campaign at the 2022 Women’s Asia Cup, culminating in a remarkable third-place finish, underscores her mettle. In the FIH Hockey Women’s Pro League 2021-22, she was instrumental in India’s third-place finish, showcasing her global competence. Furthermore, her bronze medal feat at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.

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Sharmila Devi

Sharmila Devi is undoubtedly a player to watch out for in the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy. The 20-year-old forward has made a significant mark in Indian women’s hockey. Her journey to prominence began with her debut at the Ready Steady Tokyo Hockey 2020 Olympics Test Event in 2019, where she showcased her scoring prowess. Under the mentorship of former Indian Women’s Hockey Team Captain and Dronacharya Awardee Pritam Siwach, she honed her skills, setting the stage for her remarkable career.

Sharmila Devi’s recent achievements include India’s historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and winning the FIH Women’s Rising Star of the Year Award 2020-2021. She also played a crucial role in securing bronze medals at the 2022 Hockey Asia Cup in Muscat and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Nikki Pradhan

Nikki Pradhan, a stalwart in Indian women’s hockey, is a player of great significance in the upcoming Women’s Asian Champions Trophy. Her journey in international hockey began in 2016 during the South Africa Tour, and she has since become a cornerstone of the team. Notably, Nikki Pradhan made history by becoming the first player from Jharkhand to represent her state in the Olympics at Rio 2016.

Her extensive list of accomplishments includes triumphs at the Women’s Asia Cup in 2017, as well as silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games and the 2018 Women’s Asian Champions Trophy. Nikki’s versatility and experience were instrumental in India’s successful campaigns, securing their Olympic Games berth in consecutive editions and achieving a historic fourth-place finish in Tokyo 2020. As the Asian Champions Trophy approaches, her contributions and adaptability make her a player to keep a keen eye on.


After playing a important role as a penalty corner specialist, Deepika will look to shine brightly in front of her home crowd at the Asian Champions Trophy. She was part of the Indian junior women’s Asia Cup winning team earlier this year and in the subsequent months made the cut for Asian Games 2023.

At the Asian Games, she scored a hattrick against Hong Kong and created good opportunities upfront. Apart from attacking, she is being tested for the role of penalty corner specialist and can turn out to be a reliable player with experience.

Savita Punia

Savita Punia is the last Player in our list to watch in the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy, and her journey is a testament to her incredible talent and leadership. With her international debut at the young age of 18, she has consistently played a crucial role in India’s successes. Savita’s standout performances include her vital role in the historic bronze medal win at the Women’s Asia Cup in 2013 and her contributions to India’s gold medal triumph in the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy in 2016.

Her accolades extend to being named ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ at the FIH Women’s World League Round 2 in 2017 and her pivotal role in India’s Women’s Asia Cup victory in 2017, ending a 13-year drought. Furthermore, her silver medal finish at the 2018 Asian Games and Women’s Asian Champions Trophy underpin her prowess. As the vice-captain who played a significant part in India’s historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

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