A day before the hockey selection trials begin in Bangalore, India suffered a blow with captain Arjun Halappa being ruled out of next month's Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China due to a groin injury.
Halappa, who has been out of action since the start of the first phase of national camp at the SAI South Centre in Bangalore on July 1, is the latest senior player to join the casualty list after striker Shivendra Singh, midfielder Bharat Chikara and Dhananjay Mahadik among others.
The second phase of the camp started on Monday after a seven-day break but Halappa is yet to recover from the groin injury, thereby ruling him out of the September 3-12 China event.
"So far the camp is going fine and there are no new injury scares apart from Halappa and Shivendra. Although, Shivendra is out for a few months with a dislocated collar bone, Halappa was there in the first camp but due to his groin injury he has not yet reported in the ongoing camp," national selector A B Subbiah said.
"The trials are starting tomorrow and by Monday we expect to prune down the 48 probables list to 18 for Asian Champions Trophy," he said.
Incidentally, both Shivendra - out of action for three months after dislocating his collar bone - and Halappa were named in the list of 48 probables selected after the first phase of the camp.
A frustrated Halappa confirmed that he won't be able to regain his full fitness ahead of next month's Asian Champions Trophy.
"I am still down with the groin problem. Because of the injury I have not been able to do practice for the last one month," he said.