Indian men's national football team captain Sunil Chhetri has been ruled out of the upcoming international friendlies against Bahrain and Belarus.

The 37-year-old striker, India's all-time leading goalscorer, told the AIFF website he will miss the upcoming two fixtures to recover from a 'few small injuries'. 

"I was really looking forward to the two friendlies against Baharain and Belarus and it's a shame I'll be missing out. It's been a long, tough season and I've suffered a few small injuries that need time to heal. I will be doing all I can to recover in time for the predatory camp in May," Chhetri said. 

"The potential this squad possesses is immense, and a lot of the lads are riding high on confidence on the back of good performances in the League season. I'm certain we'll put out best foot forward. I'm wishing the team all the luck," he added.

The news comes shortly after head coach Igor Stimac named a list of 38 probables for the back-to-back international friendlies last week.

The preparatory camp will start in Pune from March 10. The players whose clubs would be playing in the semifinals of the ongoing Indian Super League 2021-22 will be joining the camp as and when their club commitments end. The list will be pruned later and the Indian squad will depart for Bahrain on March 21.

The Blue Tigers are scheduled to play Bahrain on March 23, and Belarus on March 26, with both matches kicking off at 9.30 pm IST.

Featured photo: AIFF media