Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Hosts India will be out against Wales in their final Pool D encounter of the FIH Odisha Men’s World Cup Hockey 2023 without the service of attacking midfielder Hardik Sigh.

The crucial encounter will be played at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on January 19.

In-form Hardik has been a livewire in the midfield for the Men in Blue in the marquee event so far. He scored an important goal in India’s 2-0 victory against Spain. The in-form midfielder also created a flurry of chances against England in the thrilling goalless drawn match.

However, the 24-year-old suffered a hamstring injury during the match against England on Sunday. He was down on the ground and was immediately attended by the Indian team medical staff. He had to leave the ground in the crucial final quarter.

However, there hasn’t been any official statement from the Indian team sources regarding Hardik’s availability for the rest of the tournament so far. Midfielder Rajkumar Pal and defender Jugraj Singh have been named as two reserves.

The support staff of the Indian team are hopeful that the long gap between the matches will help Hardik recover for the knock-out rounds.

Notably, India registered a 2-0 victory over Spain in their opening counter and eked out a fighting draw against England in their second match.