Indian men's hockey team has suffered yet another blow as forward Nikkin Thimmaiah has been ruled out of the upcoming Hockey World Cup, following a hamstring pull on the right side.
Doctors diagnosed a tear in hamstring muscle and have advised Thimmaiah a complete bed rest of four weeks. Yuvraj Walmiki has been named as his replacement.
Couple of days back, striker Ramandeep Singh was also ruled out of the tournament after seriously injuring himself during India's first practice match against Argentina.
"It's a double blow to us. Nikkin Thimmaiah is a key player in the team and missing out on him will be a big setback. With both Ramandeep and Nikkin missing out on the big platform I am sure both Yuvraj and Lalit (Upadhyay, who replaced Ramandeep) will take this as a big opportunity to prove their game," said India's head coach Terry Walsh.
Walmiki, 23, who will be flying tonight for The Hague to join the team for the May 31 to June 15 mega-event, said he would be looking to give his best. "It's a big loss for the team as we will miss both Ramandeep and Nikkin during the upcoming World Cup. I will give by best and live up to the expectations of the coach and the team," said Walmiki.
"I was a part of the Indian team that went to Europe Tour last month to get used to the weather and playing conditions ahead of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. It should not be a big challenge for me. I am excited for having received a call from the team and am looking forward to take on the challenge ahead," he added.
In the recent past, Walmiki has played in Hockey World League Finals 2014 and was one of the key performers. He made his international debut in 2011 and has 38 international caps.
He has also played several major international tournaments like FIH Olympic Qualifier 2012 (India), Champions Trophy 2012 (Australia), Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2012 (Malaysia), FIH Champions Challenge 2011 (South Africa) and Asian Champions Trophy 2011 (China). On the basis of his past performances, he was selected in the 33 core probables for the World Cup and went on to play during the European Tour last month.