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Sandeep's injury to put hockey on backfoot

Touted as the best emerging penalty corner, the drag-flicker's injury will put the Indian hockey challenge on the back foot again.

india Updated: Sep 01, 2006 23:38 IST

Touted as the best emerging penalty corner specialist, drag-flicker Sandeep Singh's injury in an accidental firing aboard a superfast train on Tuesday will put the Indian hockey challenge on the backfoot again.

Sandeep was critically injured when a bullet from the service revolver of a railway police official went off accidentally Tuesday on the Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabdi Express. Sandeep is being rushed to the PGIMER hospital in view of his serious abdominal injury.

Doctors treating Sandeep at Kurukshetra's civil hospital said the player would take a long time to recover as he would have to be operated upon to remove the bullet inside his body.

He is from the Shahbad near Ambala in Haryana. The town, along the busy National Highway no. 1 has contributed several players to the Indian woman's hockey team.

The 20-year-old was being counted as the best in the business in the entire hockey playing world.

Sandeep's conversion rate for penalty corners was over 66 per cent - even better than Pakistan's legendary Sohail Abbas.

His rise in the Indian hockey team was meteoric after he was picked up from the junior hockey team.

Sandeep stepped into the shoes of the drag-flicker after Indian hockey could not find a suitable replacement to Jugraj Singh, rendered out of the game for two years after getting seriously injured in a road accident near Jalandhar in 2003. He has again started playing but is far from his earlier peak.

Jugraj's exit from the team left the team without a penalty corner specialist and the team grappled with the loss with a string of poor performances at the international level.

Hockey coach Harinder Singh said 80 per cent of goals in world hockey now were scored through penalty corners and the team would feel the loss of Sandeep for some time.

Sandeep was travelling to Delhi to take a flight with the Indian hockey team Thursday for Germany.

The hockey World Cup is scheduled to start in Germany in the first week of September.

First Published: Aug 22, 2006 13:00 IST