Akashdeep Singh has been ruled out of next month’s Asia Cup, dealing another injury blow to India’s prospects. The young forward is suffering from shin splints and will miss the tournament to ensure a full recovery, coach Roelant Oltmans said at the SAI here on Monday.

“It’s better for him (to skip the Asia Cup), taking his age into consideration. He’s only 18 and has a really big career ahead of him. We really rate him as a striker. But if he continues playing with the injury, it can become chronic and in half a year’s time, he won’t be able to play anymore,” Oltmans said.

Injury concerns

Akashdeep’s absence comes on the back of injuries to forwards Gurwinder Singh Chandi and Danish Mujtaba, both of whom have also been ruled out. “Akashdeep’s injury has been there for a very long time,” Oltmans said. “It has come back every time we think it is better. The most important thing is he recovers 100 per cent before he plays hockey again. Otherwise his future could be jeopardised.” The 48-member camp, minus the injured trio, was put through trials late last week, with the 18 players and seven standbys to be announced soon. “During the trials, I saw periods and glimpses where I thought: this is really good. I was really happy. But we have to be consistent,” Oltmans said.

The squad is scheduled to leave for Malaysia on August 17, with the new goalkeeping coach, Dave Staniforth, set to join the camp a week before.

“It’s more about fine-tuning at this stage,” Oltmans said. “But it’s a long-term thing and he will also work with the juniors. We will have special goalkeeping camps.

“We have good goalkeepers in the country but we need to improve in certain areas. Sometimes, from my point of view, they’ve run out a little too quickly but the most important thing is to defend your goal. If you run out, the goal is empty.”

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