The controversy surrounding Sandeep Singh’s fitness has finally been put to rest. The drag flicker has been ruled out with a back problem from the Champions Challenge hockey tournament, confirming the fears of coach Jose Brasa, whose announcement about Sandeep’s fitness raised a storm.
Hockey India (HI) president Ashok Mattoo said that Rajpal Singh would lead the side, but could not say whose decision it was to name the new captain.
“I cannot comment whether it is the selectors’ decision. I can only say that we arrived at the decision after consultation,” he said. Mattoo had said in Pune that Rajpal was not the selectors’ choice and was picked by Brasa.
At least two selectors made it clear that their job was only to select the squad and the captain is always picked by the federation.
“Only when we are consulted we might suggest a name but that has not been done in this case.”
The selectors had appointed Sandeep as captain when an ad hoc committee was controlling the sport.
Mattoo had rushed to Pune on Thursday after reports of a rift between the coach and the players during the ongoing camp at Pune’s Balewadi Complex.
HI also issued a statement on Sandeep’s injury: “As per the medical report of orthopaedic Surgeon Parag Sancheti, Sandeep is suffering from acute lumbar strain.”
“Sandeep will undergo a rehabilitation programme for three weeks and has been advised not to do any strenuous activity which might aggravate his pain.
“He has also been advised not to play competitive hockey during this period,” the statement said.
Mattoo said that it was only after a second re-check by doctors on Saturday that the extent of his injury was known.
“The doctors came to a conclusion today. It is nothing serious and we hope that he would be back in action soon,” he said.
Diwakar Ram has been named as a replacement for the tournament.