Injuries hit hockey team ahead of HWL

Injuries hit hockey team ahead of HWL

 India suffered a major blow with only a fortnight remaining for the Hockey World League semifinals, as three players -- VR Raghunath, SV Sunil and Kothajit Singh -- ruled out of the tournament due injuries.

“Raghunath did his hamstring, it is a light one. He will be out for 10 days...like-for-like replacement Rupinder Pal Singh makes a comeback,” coach Paul van Ass said on Friday. “Sunil got hit by a stick above his shin-pad and Kothajit got a hit on his ankle, there’s nothing major but they need to be replaced,” the Dutchman said.

Striker Sunil and defender Kothajit were replaced by Satbir and Devinder Walmiki respectively. India play their opening game against France on June 20 in Antwerp, Belgium. Poland, Australia and Pakistan are the other teams in the group.

Experimenting with the positions of players and keeping fluidity in options, van Ass mentioned the new method of play was in its early days. He added the efficiency of the new system would be judged after the tournament in Belgium. “We have four practice games before the start of the tournament, France and Poland after those. (By that time) we should be firm and I could take a position on that,” commented van Ass.

Giving an overview on the mental side of the preparsations, the 54-year-old Dutchman pointed towards the Leary Rose’s model that is being introduced to channelise the movement of players effectively in the team composition.

Captain Sardar Singh said that the core-group of the team is intact and they are working on the mental aspect of the game. “Concentrating for 60 minutes and to better read the game situation, when to quicken the pace or when to slow it down, these are the aspects we are working on,” Singh said. “Our real test would be the Hockey World League finals in India. We are getting ready for the Olympics and other big tournaments that are coming in the future,” said 28-year-old captain.

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