Meet India's history-making hockey women

What does the future hold for hockey in India? (3:19)

Former India captain Ashish Ballal and Sharda Ugra on the way forward for Indian hockey (3:19)

The Indian women's hockey team are the flavour of the nation, after making history by reaching their maiden Olympic semifinals at Tokyo 2020. How many of the players are you familiar with? And what quality does each of them bring to the table?

Here's where we step in. We are introducing them to you by squad number, with all other details mentioned alongside.

India at Tokyo: Key dates | Athletes | Medal tracker | Full schedule | Latest results

1 Navjot Kaur

Age: 26 | Caps: 180 | Goals: 18 | Position: Midfield

A bundle of energy, Navjot prefers playing down the flanks. Her speed enables her to cover the width of the pitch. She is one of the players who can guard posts while defending penalty corners (PCs).

2 Gurjit Kaur

Age: 25 | Caps: 95 | Goals: 64 | Position: Defence

India's PC specialist and deep defender. The only one in the current team who takes drag flicks. Current coach Sjoerd Marijne encouraged her to switch to a heavier stick in 2017, and his temporary replacement Harendra Singh added a follow-through to her drag flick action since. She has also credited Rupinder Pal Singh with a lot of inputs, especially when the men's team and women's team have stayed in camps at the same place. She has also grown in her defending ability as the tournament has worn on.

- Gurjit Kaur, star drag-flicker of the Indian women's team

3 Deep Grace Ekka

Age: 27 | Caps: 210 | Goals: 13 | Position: Defence

One of the hardest working players in the team. Brave defender who puts her body on the line, especially off set-pieces. Can also take PCs in the offensive third, alternating between an upright hit and a slap not too dissimilar to a drag flick. Vice-captain of the side as well.

4 Monika Malik

Age: 27 | Caps: 158 | Goals: 8 | Position: Midfield

One of the best individual talents in the team, Monika can find herself in positions to finish moves just as easily as she can come in as the last line of defence. The archetypal box-to-box player, she's also one of the best at dribbling.

7 Sharmila Devi

Age: 19 | Caps: 17 | Goals: 2 | Position: Attack

Plucked by Marijne two years ago just for the speed that she exhibited at the national camp, Sharmila from Himachal Pradesh is one of only two players in the squad who had single-digit caps going into the Olympics. When she takes on defenders one-on-one, there's rarely a chance of her losing out. Also scored India's second goal at these Games, a tip-in off a PC against Great Britain.

8 Nikki Pradhan

Age: 27 | Caps: 112 | Goals: 2 | Position: Defence

Invariably forms part of the PC defence setup for India. Along with Deep Grace Ekka and Salima Tete, comes from the famed Chotanagpur belt of Indian hockey, famous for having produced defenders.

11 Savita Punia

Age: 31 | Caps: 210 | Position: Goalkeeper

Slowly but surely has grown into India's most important player in the campaign, nowhere more so than in executing nine saves out of nine attempts at her during the 1-0 win against Australia. Took up hockey in her school in Sirsa, Haryana, at the insistence of her late grandfather. Has become India's No. 1 in goal since 2015.

- Savita Punia fulfills grandfather's dream to become world's best

15 Nisha Warsi

Age: 26 | Caps: 17 | Goals: 0 | Position: Midfield

Coach Marijne's second inspired pick, Nisha had actually never represented India at any level before 2019. Alongwith Sharmila, she was the only player with fewer than 10 caps at the start of the Games. Plays an important destructive role as defensive midfielder. Grew up in Haryana in a house opposite to teammate Neha Goyal.

- Nisha and Neha: Childhood friends living the Olympic dream together

16 Vandana Katariya

Age: 29 | Caps: 248 | Goals: 68 | Position: Attack

One of the earliest in this team to have made her debut, Vandana lost her wrestler father Nahar Singh Katariya in the lead-up to the Games, but opted to stay with the team. A forward with superb dribbling instincts, she has altered her game to drop into midfield and wider roles lately, but created history with a hat trick, the first for an Indian woman at the Olympics, in the 4-3 win against South Africa.

- Vandana steps out of Rani's shadow as India rediscover a champion

18 Udita Duhan

Age: 23 | Caps: 40 | Goals: 4 | Position: Defence

A strong tackler inside her circle, Udita is also among those entrusted with defending PCs. When India are on the charge, you can also find her in the opposition circle. Because of her proximity with Savita on the field, you will sometimes find the two of them chatting to keep the nerves at bay, especially ahead of defending set-pieces.

20 Lalremsiami

Age: 21 | Caps: 72 | Goals: 23 | Position: Attack

Originally from Kolasib, about 80kms away from Aizawl, Siami, as she is called, has become an integral part of the Indian team. Blooded in the senior team while still in her teens, she has fabulous pace and upper body strength that can unsettle the best of defences. In her earliest days, she was less communicative with her teammates but can be seen leading the attacking line, especially when her captain is off the pitch.

- How Lalremsiami fought language barriers to become India's rising star

25 Navneet Kaur

Age: 25 | Caps: 87 | Goals: 25 | Position: Attack

One of the smartest players in this team, Navneet makes the most of whatever little space you give her. When India were panicking a bit in the early stages of the tournament, it was Navneet who showed the way in how to convert possession in the opposition circle into PCs, by calmly finding a defender's foot. With time running out on India's campaign, she fashioned a goal against Ireland with a reverse-stick deflection to keep India alive.

27 Sushila Chanu

Age: 29 | Caps: 189 | Goals: 4 | Position: Defence

Sushila was India's captain at the last Olympics, and still plays a key leadership role within the defensive group. She's often the designated first rusher when defending PCs, and invariably halts the ball when India go up to take theirs. A good passer of the ball too, which makes her an integral part of India's transitions in play when under pressure.

28 Rani Rampal

Age: 26 | Caps: 249 | Goals: 118 | Position: Attack

In many ways, the leader of the pack. Rani has great work rate when playing up front, doubling up as the first point of defence. However, it's when you give her the barest of spaces in the defensive third, that she can punish you the most. Has a goal-poacher's instinct like few in hockey, and also doubles up as one of PC specialists, though she prefers the rasping hit to the drag.

- Decoding Rani Rampal: Illusionist, surgeon, hammer, nail

30 Salima Tete

Age: 19 | Caps: 37 | Goals: 0 | Position: Midfield

Pace is not just an asset when moving ahead, as Salima's performances have shown. A strong tackler across the pitch, Salima pulls her weight in defence as well as when India work their way up along the flanks. She prefers going through the right channel, and whips in hard passes, looking for some support from the strikers inside the circle to turn those into shots on goal.

32 Neha Goyal

Age: 25 | Caps: 82 | Goals: 12 | Position: Midfield

The midfielder with an eye for goal, Neha has become a regular in this team since scoring India's opening goal at the 2018 World Cup, which stunned hosts England in London, before India had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Neha and Nisha have grown up together, but Neha is already past the 80-caps mark. She's great with carrying the ball, and her short height makes her a difficult player to catch up with she's weaving in and out with the ball.

Alternates (unused thus far):

6 Reena Khokhar

Age: 28 Caps: 45 Goals: 1 Position: Defence

19 Namita Toppo

Age: 26 Caps: 165 Goals: 5 Position: Midfield

Head Coach

Sjoerd Marijne

Former Dutch women's hockey coach Marijne, 47, took charge of the women's team in 2017, and challenged them from the outset, taking them to Europe to play Belgium's junior men's team. He took charge of the men's team briefly, and then was replaced by Harendra Singh, briefly replacing Roelant Oltmans as the men's head coach. Back with the women in 2018, he took them to the Olympics with an aggregate win over U.S. in 2019.

Other support staff: Janneke Schopman (analytical coach), Ankitha BS (coach), Wayne Lombard (scientific advisor), Nivedita Chopra (physiotherapist), Amuthaprakash Perumal (video analyst) and Radhika Bhikan Chaudhari (masseuse)