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Hockey World Cup 2023: Big blow for Team India ahead of crossover game, midfielder Hardik Singh ruled out

Bhubaneswar, January 21: In a big jolt to the Indian Men's Hockey Team, their charismatic midfielder Hardik Singh has been ruled out of the Hockey World Cup 2023.

The Indian team management on Saturday (January 21) announced his replacement, ahead of the crucial crossover game against New Zealand on Sunday (January 22).

Hardik Singh Injury

Hardik - who sustained a hamstring injury during India's match against England on January 15 - was rested for the match against Wales but after subsequent assessment, the youngster has now been ruled out of the competition which is being held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

Hardik will be replaced by alternate player Raj Kumar Pal.

Hardik Singh in Hockey World Cup 2023

The midfielder scored a crucial goal for India in their tournament opener against Spain which the Men in Blue won by a margin of 2-0.

Speaking about the decision made by the team management, Chief Coach Graham Reid claimed they took the difficult call overnight.

"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," Reid said.

"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.

India face New Zealand in crossover

Having finished second in Pool D, India - who are Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists - will need to win against New Zealand in the crossover match on Sunday to make the Quarterfinal.

The team will attend a press conference later today in the evening in Bhubaneswar, where the coach and players might throw some light on how has their preparation for the big match been and what is the mood like in the changing room after losing a key player like Hardik.

India will take on New Zealand in the crossover match at 7 PM IST tomorrow.

Matches will be live on Star Sports Select, Star Sports First, Star Sports2.

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Story first published: Saturday, January 21, 2023, 10:53 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 21, 2023