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Asia Cup Men's Hockey 2022: Rupinder Pal Singh ruled out with injury, Birendra Lakra to lead Indian team

India's Rupinder Pal Singh at the Tokyo Olympics. (PC: Hockey India)
India's Rupinder Pal Singh at the Tokyo Olympics. (PC: Hockey India)

The Indian hockey team's ace drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh has been ruled out of the Asia Cup Men's Hockey 2022 due to a wrist injury. The Asia Cup is scheduled to commence on May 23 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Rupinder Pal Singh was named the skipper of the 20-member Indian squad for the prestigious tournament. However, the ace drag-flicker injured his wrist during a training session. He will be replaced by defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess in the squad.

Experienced defender Birendra Lakra will now lead the Indian side with ace forward SV Sunil serving as his deputy.

Read: Former hockey captain Mohammed Riaz appointed Hockey India selector

Coach BJ Kariappa stated that while it was unfortunate to lose a talented player like Rupinder Pal Singh, the Indian team isn't too worried. He added that there is a vast talent pool and a suitable replacement has been immediately named. BJ Kariappa said:

"It is unfortunate that Rupinder has picked up an injury during the training session and will not be a part of the Asia Cup. Both Birendra and Sunil are vastly experienced and have been part of the leadership group for many years now. While we will miss Rupinder, we have plenty of options available in the pool. We've got a very talented group of players, and they are looking forward to utilizing this opportunity."

India's schedule at Asia Cup Men's Hockey 2022

India are a part of Pool A along with Pakistan, Japan, and Indonesia. The host nation Indonesia will be participating in the tournament for the first time

India are the defending champions and will kickstart their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on May 23. They will then play Japan on May 24 and lock horns with Indonesia on May 26.

Coach BJ Kariappa and former India captain and two-time Olympian Sardar Singh will accompany the team for the Asia Cup. The prestigious hockey tournament will take place at GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium from May 23 to June 1.

Also read: "We are heading in the right direction of building a strong team for the Hockey Women's World Cup" - Savita Punia

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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