Australia has lost a key field hockey player for the Olympics after defender Graeme Begbie injured his knee during a practice match on a London Games pitch.

The team's player of the year in 2010 slipped during Tuesday's match against India ahead of an Olympic test event.

Hockey Australia says Begbie tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, having previously been plagued with injury problems in his left knee.

London organizers insist the new, blue surface was not at fault.

Director of venues James Bulley says the pitch followed the governing body's requirements and "has had its time to bed in properly."

While not blaming the surface, Hockey Australia's team manager Andy Smith says it "will improve over time."