KUALA LUMPUR: Hockey goalkeeper S. Kumar is racing against time to recover from a hamstring injury - which he picked up in training two weeks ago - to win a berth for the Asiad.
The 27-year-old was cleared to resume full training last week but he has not featured in any of the friendly matches against the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
The doctor at the National Sports Institute (NSI) had advised the team not to field Kumar in a match just yet.
Coach Wallace Tan said that they still had four matches against China next month to test Kumar.
Kumar will have to fight hard to retain his status as the number one goalkeeper of the team.
The other two goalkeeeper fighting for places in the final squad of 16 for the Doha Asian Games in December are Mohamed Khairul Nizam and Roslan Jamaluddin.
“I am disappointed over not being able to play in the matches against the AIS. I felt that I could take the field but the coach prefers to wait until the doctor gives me the clearance,” he said.
“I am training hard on my own and hopefully I can be fully fit to return action by next week.”
There are now 26 players in the training squad and the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) plan to name 22 on Thursday for the trip to China.