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FIH World Cup 2023: India’s Hardik Singh Ruled Out After Failing to Recover from Hamstring Injury

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Last Updated: January 21, 2023, 11:43 IST

Hardik Singh File Photo (Photo by Darren Staples / AFP)

India suffered a huge blow ahead of their crucial crossover match against New Zealand in the FIH World Cup as key midfielder Hardik Singh was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury

Injured midfielder Hardik Singh was on Saturday ruled of the remainder of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup, dealing a big blow to India ahead of their crossovers match against New Zealand here on Sunday.

Hardik Singh was the livewire in the midfield in India’s first two matches in Pool D and sustained a hamstring injury during the clash with England on January 15. Having rested the youngster for the match against Wales, and subsequent assessment, Hardik has now been ruled out of the World Cup, Hockey India confirmed on Saturday.

His absence will be a big setback for India as they have been struggling in the attacking department, and also considering the fact that they will face defending champions Belgium in the quarterfinals if they beat New Zealand on Sunday.

Hardik will be replaced by alternate player Raj Kumar Pal.

“Having rested the youngster for the match against Wales, and subsequent assessment, Hardik has now been ruled out of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela,” Hockey India said in a statement.

Talking about the decision made by the team management, chief coach Graham Reid said: “Overnight we had to make the difficult decision of replacing Hardik Singh in the Indian team for Sunday’s match vs New Zealand and the subsequent World Cup matches.

“While the injury was not as severe as the initial incident suggested, time was not on our side and after our ongoing thorough rehabilitation process and functional and on-field assessment today, it has been decided that we will replace Hardik with Raj Kumar Pal.

“While it is extremely disappointing for Hardik personally of course, given how well he played in our first two matches, we are excited at the prospects of Raj Kumar joining the group for the remaining World Cup matches,” Reid added.

Having finished second in Pool D, India will need to win against New Zealand in the crossover match to book a quarterfinal berth.

India needed to beat Wales — eight places below them in world rankings — by a margin of eight goals to top Pool D and qualify directly for the quarterfinals but the home side could only notch up a 4-2 win on Thursday.

India are now up against the Black Sticks who are placed third in Pool C with a win and two losses.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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