Indian men’s hockey team captain PR Sreejesh, who has earned much respect for his goalkeeping abilities internationally, expects a tough competition from the World Cup winning colts this time in the Hockey India League, starting January 21.
“I want to stop penalty corners taken by Harmanpreet Singh (of Dabang Mumbai) or Varun Kumar (of Jaypee Punjab Warriors),” Sreejesh said in a statement.
Under the captaincy of Harjeet Singh, India’s junior hockey team won the Junior Hockey World Cup in December 2016. Sreejesh counts the victory as the biggest moment of 2016 and expects a humdinger from the junior hockey sensations in the upcoming league.
“The year 2016 belonged to the junior team and they played like true Champions. I believe many of them will make the senior India core probable’s and I am eager to see how they play against senior players at the HIL,” he added.
Sreejesh plays for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards, who finished last in the last edition of the HIL.
Talking about the national team selection that is expected to happen in March, the 28-year-old said that the junior team has improved a lot in the previous year and therefore, it will be tough for seniors to retain their place in squad.
“We have been warned by our chief coach Roelant Oltmans about our performance in the HIL. Some of us in the senior team missed a few tournaments post Rio Olympics due to injuries but we are all fit now and eager to play the league. It will be good to start the season with some wins for our respective teams also at the same time assess where we stand ahead of the camp in March,” Sreejesh added.