Injuries are India’s biggest headache as it prepares to take on four-time champion Australia in what promises to be a draining semifinal encounter of the Champions Trophy hockey here on Saturday.
Two Indian players will carry their injuries into the match against the defending champion Australia.
Captain Sardar Singh and midfielder Manpreet Singh have gamely carried on playing as necessitated by the call of duty despite severe limitations caused by the injuries sustained during the ongoing tournament.
They will again be out in the field as India tries to stop Australia’s title-winning sequence in the Champions Trophy.
Australia has a phenomenal record, winning four successive titles since losing the 2007 final to Germany. In the hunt for its fifth successive Champions Trophy, Australia has fielded a very strong outfit and is looking to get into the big-scoring act that it has so far failed to produce in this tournament.
Australia has been content with narrow victories in earlier games, and it was its defence that played a crucial role — conceding just two goals in four matches.
But it enjoyed good domination against England on way to the 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals. India also banked on its defence in the quarterfinal against Belgium.
The semifinal against Australia is expected to be a tough game physically, and coach Michael Nobbs on Friday took the team out for a training session to iron out the problems with the forwards in the 1-0 win over Belgium.
Nobbs said he was pleased with the team’s show in the Champions Trophy, which India entered by virtue of a wild card despite finishing last in the Olympic competition.