Indian attacking midfielder Hardik Singh was excluded from FIH Men’s Hockey World Championship 2023 after failing to recover from a hamstring injury he sustained during a group stage match against England.
Hardik Singh will be replaced by Raj Kumar Pal in the India squad for the Crossover match with New Zealand and subsequent competitions.
“Although the injury was not as serious as the initial incident suggested, time was not on our side. After our ongoing process of thorough rehabilitation and functional and on-field evaluation, it has been decided that we will replace Hardik with Raj Kumar Pal,” said India Head Coach Graham Reid.
Hardik Singh’s injury is a major blow to India. The 24-year-old was part of India’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medal winning team and scored in India’s 2-0 win over Spain in the inaugural 2023 Ice Hockey World Cup.
Hardik Singh was also the standout player for India against England in the second leg, but he had to limp off the pitch after suffering an injury with just over three minutes left.
The Indian striker missed the final group match against Wales which India won 4-2.
After finishing second in Group D behind England on goal difference, India must beat New Zealand in Sunday’s Crossover match to qualify for the quarter-finals.
If they win against Kiwi, Harmanpreet Singh and Co. they will face defending champions Belgium in the final eight.
India won the Hockey World Cup once in 1975. During the last edition in 2018, India lost 2-1 to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.