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Indian hockey team jolted
March 13, 2006 20:18 IST
The Indian hockey team received a jolt three days ahead of its opening match against Malaysia as Harpal Singh was virtually ruled out of the Commonwealth Games due to chicken pox.
"It is unfortunate that we will be missing the services of Harpal, who is down with chicken pox," Indian coach Rajinder Singh said in Melbourne on Monday.
"He was also adjudged as the best defender in the recently-held India-Pakistan series," he said.
The coach said a decision on Harpal's replacement would be taken soon by the Indian Hockey Federation.
"He (Harpal) has gone to meet a doctor only this evening. A decision will be taken as to when he can be sent home. I have informed the Federation and the IHF will take a decision on this," he said.
Rajinder Singh ruled out the possibility of Dilip Tirkey or William Xalco joining the team.
"Dilip Tirkey and William Xalco are injured and have not recovered fully," he said.
He appeared disappointed with the team's preparation for the Games after a none-to-impressive performance against New Zealand in a practice match yesterday.
"Senior players should be much more effective and show sharpness in their approach. In the practice match against New Zealand yesterday, Deepak Thakur muffed with two easy chances
and Tushar Khandekar missed one. Sandeep Singh converted two penalty-corners. Though the match was drawn two-all, India should have won that match by a bigger margin," he said.
Strikers Deepak Thakur, Gagan Ajit Singh along with midfielder Viren Rasquinha were recalled for the Games after being rested for a six-match series against Pakistan.