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Dinesh Nayak replaces Jugraj

New Delhi, Sept. 13 (PTI) Dinesh Nayak replaced an injured Jugraj Singh in the 18-member Indian team announced on Saturday for the Asia Cup hockey starting in Malaysia from September 21.

Forward Sandeep Michael, who missed the Champions Trophy after contracting jaundice, staged a comeback into the side in place of V.S. Vinay as the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) made only two changes to the side that finished fourth in the elite six-nation tournament in Amstelveen last month.

Dhanraj Pillay has been retained captain for the meet.

Three players — Baljit Singh Saini, Ignace Tirkey and Dilip Tirkey who suffered injuries during the Champions Trophy — have also been included in the side. The squad will leave for Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Saini and Ignace Tirkey, both of whom suffered injuries during the league match against Pakistan, have regained full fitness while dependable defender Dilip Tirkey also recovered from the severe cramp he got during the initial stage of the meet.

Despite their impressive performance in Poland, three members of the title-winning Indian junior team — Prabodh Tirkey, Tushar Khandekar and Sandeep Singh, all of whom are attending the camp here — failed to make the cut.

India, who have been drawn in pool B, will open their campaign against China and follow it up with a match against Bangladesh the next day. They will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their last league match on September 24. South Koreans lead group A which also has Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong. The final will be played on September 28.

IHF awaits clearance

Meanwhile, IHF today said it was awaiting clearance from the doctors attending on Jugraj before sending the player abroad for further treatment. The doctors are not being able to give a time when Jugraj would be safe to be taken abroad.

“I recently met doctors treating Jugraj who said the player is responding well to the treatment. He is making a steady recovery,” IHF secretary K. Jothikumaran said. “Now we are waiting for the fitness certificate from the doctors before sending him abroad for physiotherapy. Most likely Jugraj will be treated either in Australia, or in South Africa or Germany,” the IHF secretary said.

Jothikumaran said though the doctors are yet to give any time frame on when they can let Jugraj leave, the IHF was in touch with the game’s international body in order to get the “best-available medical facilities” for him. “We have send the recordings of the operation and other details to experts and are waiting for their response,” he added.

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