Minor injury forces Sardar to sit out

One notable spectator during the Indian team’s practice session here at the Kalinga Stadium was Sardar Singh, the skipper not joining the squad going through the paces ahead of the Champions Trophy.

“He is fine, just a minor niggle,” said Hockey India High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans of the 28-year-old midfielder who sat with a iceon his left calf muscle.

“He played the practice game against Australia yesterday and that’s when the injury occurred. With the tournament set to kick-start on Saturday, we don’t want to take any chances as you all know how big a player Sardar is. It’s a precautionary measure. We don’t
want to rush him and then lose him out for 6-7 games. We want him to heal well.”

While VR Raghunath and Gurjinder Singh fine-tuned their drag-flicks, Rupinder Pal Singh was absent. However coach Jude Felix said the defender remained at the hotel because he was suffering from cold.

Oltmans said the mood in the camp is upbeat and everyone is raring to give their best shot. “The confidence is very high in the team. They are all very upbeat about playing in the Champions Trophy where the top eight teams in the world are competing. It’s one of the premier events and they are geared up to put up a good show. It’s all about executing the skills.”

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