Injured Lalit Upadhyay recuperating from hairline fracture
It’s an altogether different experience to watch your team-mates on television do well when you are laid low by injury. Talented Indian forward Lalit Upadhyay, who pulled out of the team for the three Test series and the Hockey World League Final Round, would probably know better.
The 22-year-old Varanasi lad was poised to take part in the three-Test series and the Hockey World League Final Round but a hairline fracture in the final week of the recent national camp in Bengaluru put a dampener on his aspirations. “You can’t do much about injuries – hockey is a tough sport and players are bound to get injured. You can’t avoid injuries. It’s not a great feeling to be sitting at home on injury grounds when a big tournament is going on. I get thrilled when our team does well,” says Lalit in an informal chat from his hometown Varanasi.
Lalit is one of the two injury-induced withdrawals from the national team for the three-Test series and the Hockey World League Final Round with Nikkin Thimmaiah pulling out owing to a shoulder injury.
Lalit, who once drew copious praise from Pakistani great Shahbaz Ahmed for his hockey skills, was replaced by rookie youngster Mohammed Amir Khan for the three Test series and the Hockey World League Final Round. “I got hit on my ankle during our national camp in Bengaluru. I did an X-ray and the pain did not subside, subsequently I underwent an MRI scan, which revealed a hairline fracture. I have been advised three weeks of rest. I should be fully fit in the next couple of weeks,” the youngster quips.
There is a feeling that top teams like Australia, Germany and Netherlands are keen to play against India given the rapid progress the national team have made in recent years – climbing up from outside the top-10 in FIH world rankings to world number 6. “I think the way we performed against these top teams in recent months makes me feel that all these top teams are ‘extra keen’ to play against us. I guess we are heading in the right direction,” the BPCL employee states.
One hopes that Lalit is back in the national team’s scheme of things sooner than later.