INDIA: India has suffered a significant setback ahead of the India vs. New Zealand Hockey World Cup 2023 Crossover match on Sunday, January 22, after a severe injury to its star player, Hardik Singh.
Midfielder Hardik Singh, the nation’s best player in the first two matches of the tournament, sustained a hamstring injury during the second Pool match against England. Hardik Singh did not play against Wales and has been ruled out of the tournament today.
Hardik’s absence will be a significant setback for India, who have struggled offensively and are likely to face defending champion Belgium in the quarterfinals if they beat New Zealand.
Raj Kumar Pal will take Hardik’s place, who scored a brilliant solo goal in India’s 2-0 win over Spain in their opening match, as an alternate.
Chief Coach Graham Reid stated, referring to the team management’s decision, that they had to make the difficult decision overnight.
India will replace Hardik Singh in its team for Sunday’s match against New Zealand and the World Cup matches that will follow the crossover match.
Reid added that even though the injury was not as severe as the initial incident suggested, time was not on India’s side.
The management decided to replace Hardik with Raj Kumar Pal after today’s comprehensive rehabilitation process and functional and on-field assessments.
Although it is incredibly disappointing for Hardik, India is excited about Raj Kumar joining the team for the remaining World Cup matches, Reid added.
India must beat New Zealand in the crossover match on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals of the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023, Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, where it finished second in Pool D.
India will face New Zealand in the crossover match at 7 p.m. IST on January 22, 2023, in the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 at Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
Also Read: FIH Hockey World Cup: Weller Hattrick Helps Germany Beat South Korea 7-2