India gear up for Kiwi test without Sardar
In a huge jolt to India's hockey team's chances in the Commonwealth Games, captain Sardar Singh has been suspended for the semifinal match against New Zealand on Saturday following his second dangerous offence of the tournament.
Sardar, who has already been reprimanded for dangerous play against an Australian player, received a yellow card in Wednesday's pool A match against South Africa — which India won 5-2 — and the jury originally slapped him a two-match suspension as it was his second offence of the tournament.
After an appeal by the Indian team management, the appeal jury reduced the suspension to one match.
The appeal jury held a hearing to consider Singh's latest disciplinary lapse, for which he was sent to the sinbin for 10 minutes.
Team coach MK Kaushik said that it was an unintentional tackle and since he has already been reprimanded, Sardar received the suspension.
"It was an unintentional tackle for which Sardar got the yellow card. Since he has already been reprimanded, he received a two-match suspension. But after we appealed it was reduced to one match," he said.
Hockey India Secretary General Narinder Batra said that the team was satisfied with the one-match suspension and it will not appeal further .
A two-match suspension would have ruled Sardar out of either the final or bronze-medal match also.
"He (Sardar) has already been reprimanded on Wednesday over an incident during India's match against Australia on Tuesday. Singh was deemed to have been guilty of ‘inappropriate physical conduct" after Australia's Eddie Ockenden was hit in the face," the organisers said.
"Following a review by the appeal jury after India vs South Africa match on Thursday, the jury decided to suspend Singh for two matches. That was later reduced to one game after India submitted a protest."
The India women's hockey team secured a 2-1 win over hosts Scotland to finish a disappointing fifth in the 20th Commonwealth Games here on Friday.
Anupa Barla and Poonam Rani scored two quick field goals in the second half to help their team earn a consolation win.
Nikki Kid converted a penalty corner for Scotland.
It was for the second successive Commonwealth Games, India failed to win a medal. They were champions in the 2002 edition at Manchester.
The first half was rather tepid with both teams unable to convert chances. They picked up pace in the second half which saw three goals being scored in the space of four minutes.
Barla slammed her low shot into the net after picking up a deflection in the danger area. Scotland took no time to equalise. Kid hammered the ball to the top left side of the post, giving India custodian not enough time to react.
Soon after, an unmarked Rani in the rival D gave India the decisive lead but smashing the ball comfortably past Scotland goalkeeper Amy Gibson.
"Having played Scotland the last time, they beat us 4-3. It was nice to come here and win today (Friday)," said Rani.
The result could have been different had Scotland scored more from their eight penalty corners. They just managed one.
"It was a game of two halves. Scotland took over the game in the second part. We conceded a silly goal," said Neil Hawgood, India's Australian coach.