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Women's Asia Cup: Railways, South Players Dominate India Roster
The 2021 FIBA Women's Asia Cup will see an Indian roster that comprises seven players from Indian Railways and nine players from South India.
The only players not from down South are Shireen Limaye (Maharashtra), Vaishnavi Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) & Madhu Kumari (Delhi).
*Note: For the purpose of this enumeration, Sruthi Arvind (a Keralite who represented Maharashtra at the National level has been included in the South players)
Women's Asia Cup: Indian Roster Breakdown
Besides the dominance of players from Railways and South India as mentioned above, the side also features as many as six 'wing' players in the 5ft 9’’ to 5ft 11’’ height range. (In 2019, there were four.)
At the centre position, the 6ft 20-yr-old Anumaria is set to get significant playing time as a backup to the seasoned Stephy Nixon.
It will also be interesting to see two sisters - Pushpa & Sathiya Senthil Kumar - in the Indian women's team for the first time since the 'Singh Sisters' were in action in the previous decade.
Overall, the average height of the roster is 5ft 9'' which is the same as in 2019.
The versatile Shireen Limaye will be captaining the side, under Serbian Coach Zoran Visic, who has been at the helm since prior to the 2017 Asia Cup.
Notable omissions (when compared to the 2019 team) include Jeena Skaria (maternity leave), Anjana PG (injury), R Rajapriyadarshini, Barkha Sonkar & Bhandavya HM Gowda (injury).
What to expect from India
India is currently ranked #70 in the World & #11th in the Asia/Oceania Zone.
Its best finish came in the 2013 edition when it recorded its only Level 1 (now renamed to Division A) victory, with a win over Kazakhstan and finishing 5th at the event.
In the previous 2019 edition, India was in Division A but finished winless and at the bottom. Luckily it avoided relegation to Division B since no Division B tournament could be held that year (which meant that there was no champion Division B team that could replace India in Division A in the upcoming 2021 edition).
While India will be looking to showcase the best version of itself against much higher-ranked teams Japan (27th Sept, 12:30 pm IST), Korea (28th Sept, 3:30 pm) and New Zealand (29th Sept, 3:30 pm), its primary goal will be to avoid relegation to Division B. The key test in this regard could be a potential 2019 rematch with the Philippines in the 7-8 Classification Game.
*The FIBA Women's Asia Cup will be held between 27th September - 3rd October in Amman, Jordan. The games are expected to be live-streamed on the LiveBasketball.tv app and on FIBA Youtube Channel
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