LAHORE - Pakistan hockey team suffered a blow ahead of Azlan Shah Hockey Cup when centre half M Touseeq Arshad was ruled out for three months following a back injury.

Talking to the reporters here on Wednesday, head coach Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary said: “It is a big setback for us that Touseeq got that serious nature injury during team’s final preparations for the event.” He said Kashif Shah had replaced the injured centre half. “An MRI revealed a serious injury in Touseeq’s back and the doctors have advised him three months rest after which a final evaluation will be made regarding his recovery.”

The head coach said Kashif was the best choice among the standby players and it was hoped that he would fill the void demonstrating a higher level of game during his responsibilities as a half line player. He said injuries were the part of the game and such things happened on and off. He rejected the notion that Touseeq absence would weaken the defence saying the management would work on this aspect.

Touseeq termed his injury ‘unfortunate and at wrong time’. “Injury was beyond my control but certainly I am very much upset with it. I will make a comeback after getting full recovery from the injury which will keep me away from hockey for three months.”

Kashif said he would put in extraordinary efforts to justify his inclusion in the side. “It is going to be a tough event as the world’s best teams are taking part and I will do my best to deliver for the team.”