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Tuesday August 20, 2013 MYT 4:58:00 PM
Tuesday August 20, 2013 MYT 5:04:24 PM
by aftar singh
India skipper and playmaker Sardar Singh in action at last year's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. Sardar is recovering from a throat infection and fighting to get fit in time for the Asia Cup.
KUALA LUMPUR: India hockey skipper Sardar Singh has been hospitalised in Ipoh due to a throat infection – and will be fighting against time to be fit for the Asia Cup, which begins in Ipoh on Saturday.
The Punjab-born midfielder, who was named the best player in Asia last year, was down with fever and was admitted to the Ipoh Specialist Centre on Monday.
The 27-year-old Sardar said that he thought it was just a minor problem “when I first felt some pain in my throat”.
“But it then became worse and I was hospitalised Monday with fever,”said Sardar, who has 170 international caps.
With Sardar hospitalised and four key forwards – Danish Mujtaba, SV Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi and Akashdeep Singh – absent, India will have a tough task trying to win the Asia Cup, which is their last chance to qualify for next year’s World Cup in The Hague, Holland.
Eight teams will feature in the Asia Cup and India will open their Group B campaign against Oman on Saturday. Their other matches are against defending champions South Korea (Aug 26) and Bangladesh (Aug 28).
Group A comprises Pakistan, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia.
The semi-finals will be on Aug 30 and final is on Sept 1.
Sardar, who is also the team’s playmaker, hopes to be able to recover in time to lead his team in the Asia Cup.
“Although we do not have the services of four key strikers, we hope to rise to the occasion and win the Asia Cup,” he said.
“But it won’t be easy because teams like Pakistan, South Korea and Malaysia will also be going all out to win the tournament and book a place in the World Cup.”
Eight-time Olympic champions India and neighbours Pakistan know that one of them could miss out on the World Cup for the first time since it began in 1971.
The India Squad
Goalkeepers: P.R. Sreejesh, P.T. Rao.
Defenders: V.R. Raghunath, Rupinder Pal Singh, Amit Rohidas, Kothajit Singh, Birendra Lakra, Gurmail Singh.
Midfielders: Sardar Singh (captain), Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh, Dharamvir Singh, S.K. Uthappa.
Forwards: Ramandeep Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah, Mandeep Singh, Malak Singh, Nikin Thimmaiah.
Tags / Keywords:
hockey, Asia Cup, India, Sardar Singh, Ipoh
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