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Home > Sports > Hockey > Report

Raghunath replaces Sandeep Singh

September 04, 2006 20:07 IST

Young penalty-corner specialist R Raghunath will replace injured drag-flicker Sandeep Singh in the Indian squad for the hockey World Cup, beginning in Germany on Wednesday.

Raghunath was preferred over Vikramjit Singh and Jugraj Singh, who also were in contention for Sandeep's place.

Indian Hockey Federation secretary K Jothikumaran said Raghunath was chosen because of his consistent performances.

"Raghunath has been selected as the replacement for Sandeep for the World Cup. The coaches preferred him over the other two because he played well in junior tournaments and the South Asian Games. Also, he scored in the practice game against Japan (which India won 3-1) two days back," Jothikumaran said.

The Indian team received a jolt days before taking off for their World Cup campaign when Sandeep was seriously injured after being hit by a bullet when a policeman's gun accidentally went off in the train in which he was travelling in to Delhi to join the rest of the team.

The IHF immediately short listed three penalty-corner specialists, who were flown to Germany and fielded in some practice matches to assess their form and fitness.

Jothikumaran said the FIH, the world body for the game, had been intimated about Raghunath's inclusion in the Indian squad and the FIH, in turn, confirmed his inclusion with the organisers of the event in Germany.

Asked whether Vikramjit and Jugraj would be returning to India, Jothikumaran said, "We are yet to decide on it, since we were busy conveying Raghunath as the replacement for Sandeep to the FIH. This will be known later."

Raghunath made a strong case for selection with some solid performances in India's three practice matches, two against Belgium and one against Japan.

He was instrumental in India's 3-1 win on Sunday against Japan, opening the account for India in the early minutes with a superb penalty-corner conversion.

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