Team India suffered a major setback this Saturday morning as India’s ace Midfielder Hardik Singh has been ruled out of the Hockey World Cup.
What was the injury?
During the match against England, he suffered a hamstring injury which also kept him out of the last group D match against Wales. The injury was not very serious but the time for the rehabilitation process was not in our hands and we had to take a strong decision overnight to replace him with another young midfielder Raj Kumar Pal, said Indian hockey team coach Graham Reid.Coach also said it will be hard for Hardik personally to miss such a tournament given the kind of form he was in the first two games. But he exclaimed confidence with the entry of Raj Kumar Pal, another bright young Indian prospect waiting for his opportunity.
Who is Raj Kumar Pal?
Rajkumar debuted for India in 2020 and has played 21 matches already for the country scoring 4 goals in his young career. With age on his side, it will be interesting to see how he grabs the opportunity. He has already played once against New Zealand and has played 6 times against Australia who might be welcoming India in the knockout stage of the tournament.
During India vs Australia matches in the pro league he led the comeback of the Indian team when the team was trailing by 2 goals. He not only scored composure in scoring goals but also presented to the world the capabilities the “Ghazipur ka Rajkumar ” carried with him. In his debut match against Belgium, he showed the speed and agility that he possessed when Rajkumar went from one end to another with the ball. It will be very interesting to observe his performances in the Hockey world cup.
What was the role of Hardik Singh?
Hardik Singh is one of the most dynamic players on the current Indian Hockey Team. He has played 79 matches for the country and has contributed four goals also. Hardik is known for his strong defensive skills and ball-playing ability. India’s match against Wales showed how India missed the services of their key midfielder. Hardik was part of the setup of the Indian Team in the Tokyo Olympics which won the bronze medal.
He comes from a very renowned hockey family which features Gurmal Singh who was a vital member of the 1980 Indian Hockey Team who won the Gold in the Olympics, Rajbir Kaur was a former Indian women’s hockey team captain, and his brother Jugraj Singh a former Indian hockey team defender. Hardik Singh plays in the key position of central midfield and along with defending he is known for providing beautiful assists to the forwards in the team. In many interviews, he has expressed his fondness for dictating the pace and tempo of the game.
Journey ahead for the Indian hockey team
Indian Hockey Team is currently pitted against the Kiwi team in the cross-over match. India has already defeated the Kiwis at the same venue twice before but with the current form of the Indian team and the motivated New Zealand team, it is certainly going to be a roller coaster of a match.
New Zealand is highly motivated to qualify for the first time in the hockey World Cup. Even Indian team coach Graham Reid said it will not be an easy fixture against the Kiwi. India was last defeated by the Kiwis in 2019. New Zealand has got brilliant armory in their attack which is certainly going to keep the Indian defense throughout the match.