Mumbai: Pune Strykers suffered a major blow even before the commencement of their campaign in the World Series Hockey tournament when they lost the services of their captain and ace drag-flicker Diwakar Ram to an injury.
The Uttar Pradesh born player, who was part of the India World Cup squad last year, has suffered a wrist fracture and has been ruled out for at least three weeks.
Diwakar has been replaced by Rail Coach Factory player Simrandeep Singh, it was announced ahead of Pune`s opening tie against Mumbai Marines at the Mahindra Stadium here.
"Diwakar Ram was our first draft pick and it`s unfortunate that he suffered an injury on his right hand above the wrist. He seems to be out of the tournament. It`s a big blow for us but we have to make do with whatever resources we have got," team manager and Olympian Mervyn Fernandis said today.
According to Mervyn, the team is a young side with an average age of 25, as per the wishes of franchise owner Manoj Chaudhary.
"We are a young side, the youngest among all the eight teams in World Series Hockey," said Mervyn, who added the team will also be without some India and Railways players, who have not been given permission to play in the tournament.
"We will be without India players Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Kangujam Chinglensana Singh, who is also from the Railways, besides three other Railways players -- Vinod Gopi Nair, Amit Gowda and M G Poonacha," he said.
But the team has the services of Roshan Minz and Damandeep Singh, though, they are in the list of 48 probables picked by Hockey India for the national camp scheduled to start in Bangalore from March 5.
Poonacha is also among the camp probables.