Hardik was India’s best player in their two matches against Spain and England but pulled his hamstring in the fourth quarter of India’s 0-0 draw against England on Sunday. India opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over Spain.
If Hardik is ruled out of the tournament completely, it has been learnt that Rajkumar Pal will replace him in India’s squad of 18. Midfielder Rajkumar and defender Jugraj Singh were the two reserves named by Hockey India when they announced the World Cup squad last month.
FIH tournament regulations state that if an injured player from among the 18 is replaced by a reserve, then the injured player can’t return to play in that tournament, even if he recovers.
Hardik Singh during the match vs England. (IANS Photo)
Hardik has been the lynchpin for India in the midfield, doubling up as an attacker. He showcased those skills with his stunning solo effort to score the second goal in India’s 2-0 win in their tournament opener against Spain on January 13.
Hardik underwent an MRI on Sunday night.
India take on Wales on January 19 in Bhubaneswar and England play Spain on the same day in the last two matches of Pool D. The results in those two matches will decide who tops the pool for a direct entry into the quarterfinals.
Both India and England have a win and a draw each from two matches so far, but England lead the pool currently on a better goal difference.