India’s hope of going into the Hockey World League (HWL) semi-finals with an injury-free squad received a huge blow with the news of a hamstring injury to V.R. Raghunath. With his ability on the penalty corners and defending ability, the team will definitely miss the 26-year old.However, this is not the first time that a pivotal member of the Indian squad has suffered an injury right before an international tournament. There have been plenty others who have been unlucky with injuries ahead of an important tournament. Some even failed to recover from their injury and were forced to retire from hockey.Here are 5 Indian players whose tournament ended before it started due to injury:
#1 Jugraj Singh
Jugraj Singh was, arguably, the best drag-flicker India has ever produced and had already made his mark at the international stage when he scored 2 important goals in India’s 7-4 win in Champions Trophy group stage against arch rivals Pakistan. He made his debut for India in 2001 at the Asia Cup, Ipoh.
At a tender age of 20, enjoying plenty of success and set for a stellar career, tragedy struck when he got injured in a severe car accident right before the 2003 Asia Cup. He sustained multiple injuries in his right pelvis, thigh and right elbow. His penalty corners did not have the same venom due to the injuries sustained and without his primary weapon, he faded away from the scene returning to take a brief part in the Premier Hockey League (PHL) briefly was in action again in PHL with Chandigarh Dynamos.
Despite being a defender, his penalty corner expertise allowed him to score 51 times for the national team across all age groups. He even trained India’s next big penalty corner taker Sandeep Singh and current drag-flick expert Rupinder Pal Singh.
During his short spell with the Indian hockey team, he won over plenty of plaudits with Sohail Abbas, the penalty corner specialist, once remarking that he saw a younger himself in Jugraj.