Ahead of India’s crucial crossover match against New Zealand on Sunday, Hockey India announced that midfielder Hardik Singh has been ruled out of the ongoing FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 due to a hamstring injury sustained during the match against England on January 15. Hardik will be replaced by alternate player Raj Kumar Pal.

Talking about the decision made by the team management, chief coach Graham Reid said: “Overnight we had to make the difficult decision of replacing Hardik Singh in the Indian team for Sunday’s match against New Zealand and the subsequent World Cup matches.

“While the injury was not as severe as the initial incident suggested, time was not on our side and after our ongoing thorough rehabilitation process and functional and on-field assessment today, it has been decided that we will replace Hardik with Raj Kumar Pal. While it is extremely disappointing for Hardik personally of course, given how well he played in our first two matches, we are excited at the prospects of Raj Kumar joining the group for the remaining World Cup matches,” Reid added.

Having finished second in Pool D, India will need to win against New Zealand in the crossover match on Sunday to make the quarterfinal against Belgium.

India will play New Zealand at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, January 22, at 19:00 hrs IST. Matches will be live on Star Sports Select, Star Sports First, Star Sports2.