Injuries to Sardara, Ignace worry India, Nobbs says the players showing signs of recovery

Seasoned defender Ignace Tirkey’s sprained ankle and star midfielder Sardara Singh’s injured shin has left the Indian hockey team management worried ahead of the Olympic Games starting on July 27, says a report in The Hindu.

Injuries sustained by star midfielder Sardara, by far the most outstanding Indian player in recent times, and defender Ignace during the practice matches in Spain have kept the duo away from the turf for an entire week, says the report, adding that the team’s medical staff is working overtime to help Sardara back on his feet after a crushing blow on his shin from close range.

Ignace’s ankle sprain nearly saw India lose the most experienced player in the squad, but after a week of limping, he stepped back on to the pitch for a training session on Saturday evening, to the delight of the fellow players. “We had a bad time with these two key players injured, but luckily they have shown good signs of recovery and should be back in good shape ahead of our first Olympic Games outing,” coach Michael Nobbs said.

Meanwhile Nobbs also came down heavily on the blue turfs and said he doesn't understand why the London Olympic organizers decided to hold the competition on such "a slow and bouncy surface". Nobbs said the blue turf is no match to the traditional green pitch and all the teams will face difficulties in adjusting to the surface, says a report in the Times Of India.

"During the tour (of Spain) we played on blue turf and let me tell you some interesting facts have come up. None of the teams we played during the tour could convert most of the penalty corners (including ourselves). We could convert only three of the 33 penalty corners," he said.

"The turf is made by the same company with same colour but it played differently at different places. Each turf has different characteristics depending on the climatic conditions.