Former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh will miss next year's World Cup in New Delhi due to a back injury, chief coach Jose Brasa said on Sunday.
Sandeep, who was on Friday replaced as captain by Rajpal Singh but figured in the 22-member squad for the December 6-13 Champions Challenge I in Argentina, underwent an MRI scan on Saturday following which doctors advised him 10-day rest.
"It's a back injury. He won't be able to play in the World Cup (Feb-March next year) but may be he will come back for the Commonwealth Games (in October next year)," Brasa told reporters.
"He went for a test yesterday. Doctors said he cannot get out of the bed for 10 days. He cannot even get up from the bed on his own," the 58-year old Spaniard said.
Brasa said Rajpal was named captain in place of Sandeep because of the back injury which the team management knew after the Canada tour.
"Following the team's tour to Europe and Canada, we had decided on Rajpal and Sandeep (as the two candidates for captaincy) but till the day before yesterday we weren't sure whether he (Sandeep) would be fit to go to Argentina," Brasa said.
Brasa hailed Sandeep as the best player of the team but felt the burden of captaincy has affected his game.
"It's a pity Sandeep is injured. He is the best player in the team and the best drag-flicker in the world. He gives the team a huge advantage with his strength and coordination.
"But the pressure of captaincy has affected his game and his short corners. During the tours while Rajpal and Dhananjay Mahadik were skippers he was doing well. In one of the games he converted four out of five penalty corner flicks. But once he was made skipper he did not score any goals," Brasa said.
"An important thing as a skipper is the capacity to lead the team. But before that you have to have the capacity to perform on the pitch."
Asked whether Sandeep's absence will weaken the team's defence, Brasa said, "We have other good players to take his place. It's okay we are going to miss the best player in the world but we can't cry over that. We are going to win with or without Sandeep.
"The team has many players who can win matches for India. Names are not important, what is important is the light blue shirt of India," he said.
The Indian team, currently training at Balewadi Sports Complex, would leave from New Delhi on November 23 for Madrid for a one-week training-cum-competition tour en-route to Argentina.
India will play their first group match against New Zealand on December 6 before taking on China (December 8) and Belgium (December 10).