In big blow for India, Jhingan out for 6 months
Panaji: India will be without their best defender for at least the next four World Cup 2022 qualifiers after Sandesh Jhingan suffered a tear of his ACL that will keep him out for a long time.
Coach Igor Stimac has been forced to look at alternatives after the defender picked up an injury during the friendly against NorthEast United FC in Guwahati on Wednesday and MRI tests a day later showed that he needs surgery. The Kerala Blasters FC defender could be out for as many as six months and will miss World Cup qualifying matches against Bangladesh (October 15), Afghanistan (November 14), Oman (November 19) and possibly even Qatar (March 26).
“Injuries have been following us. This is a big blow. If I wanted to pick one player who needs to get injured, he would be the last. He is a leader at the back,” Stimac told TOI late on Thursday. India were without injured Amarjit Singh for the opening clash against Oman and Sunil Chhetri against Qatar.
India play Bangladesh in a World Cup qualifier in Kolkata on October 15 and Stimac will have to find a replacement at the earliest. With Jhingan ruled out, Anas Edathodika – who came out of international retirement -- is the most experienced option, something the Croatian coach might consider.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh lost 0-2 against Qatar in a World Cup qualifier at home on a terrible pitch. Should India get the better of the visitors next week, they will move to the third spot in group E behind Qatar (7 points) and Oman (6 points).