“I’m very disappointed. I was not expecting this. But I will work harder to try and make a comeback into the Indian team soon,” Walmiki told MiD DAY from Pune yesterday, where he is camped with the national team that is preparing for its upcoming tours to France (two Tests to be played on June 28 & 30) and Spain (two Tests & three-nation tourney from July 5-18) before heading to London’s Olympic Village.
Though there is no official reason provided as yet for Yuvraj’s exclusion, according to team sources, his form had taken a dip following his recent recovery from a hamstring injury. “
Yuvraj passed the fitness test and even travelled to Malaysia for the Azlan Shah Cup, but during the selection trials conducted at Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex (June 6 & &), the selectors found that he was not putting pressure on his leg for fear of recurrence of the injury and so was unable to perform at his best,” said the source.
The 21-year-old shot into the limelight following his impressive show in India’s Asian Champions Trophy-winning 4-2 victory over Pakistan last year. Thereafter, national coach Michael Nobbs hailed him as one of Indian hockey’s brightest talent. Unfortunately though, Walmiki suffered a hamstring injury in India’s Olympic qualifier-winning campaign in New Delhi earlier this year.
All hope is not lost for the youngster though. According to a source, coach Nobbs had a one-to-one chat with the forward following the trials. “Nobbs told Yuvraj that it was unfortunate that his London Olympic dream was over but assured him that he will be one of Indian hockey’s biggest stars in years to come and will definitely be an Olympian next time,” said the source.
India’s Olympic squad
Bharat Chetri (Captain), PR Sreejesh, V Raghunath, Ignace Tirkey, Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Birendra Lakra, Manpreet Singh, SV Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Shivendra Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Tushar Khandker, Dharamvir Singh, SK Uthappa. Standbys
Sarvanjit Singh & Kothajit Singh